Nepal | October 22, 2020

Witchcraft violence continues unabated across Nepal

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
Share Now:

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 11

Despite criminalisation of ‘witchcraft’ accusations and any assault, ill-treatment and torture of women accused of practising witchcraft continues to take toll on society.

Statistics provided by Nepal Police showed that it filed a total of 46 cases of ‘witchcraft’ accusations and subsequent torture at the concerned district courts across the country in 2018-19, 34 cases in 2019-20 and 13 cases as of mid-September in the current fiscal.

Nepal Police said the number of victims were 51 and 32, while the perpetrators were 60 and 53 in 2018-19 and 2019-20, respectively.

The security agency said 15 victims lodged FIRs against 21 perpetrators as of mid-September in the current fiscal.

Of the 98 victims from fiscal 2018-19 to mid-September of the current fiscal, 94 are women and four are minors, who mainly belong to low-income families.

“The country recorded 51 cases of witchcraft accusation in 2018-19 compared to 32 in 2019-20. It indicates that the superstitious social malpractices are gradually on the wane,” read the police report.

Accusation of ‘witchcraft’ is also a form of violence against women. Nepal Police said such incidents resulted from unequal power relations between men and women. The victims are often tortured after being accused of practicing so-called witchcraft. The main reasons for prevalence of these malpractices are superstition, lack of education, social and economic disparity and lack of public awareness, among others.

Usually, helpless women, single women and differently-abled women are accused of being a ‘witch’ as and when their neighbours or family members die or fall sick for any reason whatsoever. The victims are also smeared with soot, forcefully fed human excreta, beaten up, expelled from the village or even killed. According to Nepal Police, the perpetrators include family members, neighbours and witch doctors.

The Criminal Code Act stipulates stringent action against those involved in the inhuman treatment of a man or a woman by accusing him or her of practising ‘witchcraft’.

According to Section 168 of the act, the perpetrator of such activities shall be liable to a jail sentence of up to five years, along with a fine of up to Rs 50,000. If any person working at a government office commits such an act, he/she shall be handed an additional threemonths jail term, in addition to the punishment as prescribed by this law.

If the perpetrator fails to pay compensation to the victim on grounds of his/her poor financial status, the government will make necessary arrangements for relief to the victim through Gender-based Violence Prevention Fund.


A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 5743 new cases, 2996 recoveries, 26 fatalities recorded today

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. READ MORE: Kathmandu valley registers whopping 3,107 new infections, 2,391 in capital alone Til Read More...

NMA felicitates Prince of Bahrain, Royal Bahrain Guards

KATHMANDU: Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) organised a felicitation programme for the Prince of Bahrain Sheikh Mohamed Hamad Mohamed Al Khalifa and the Royal Bahrain Guards who ascended Mt Manaslu (8,163m) and Mt Lobuche East (6,119m). The felicitation programme was carried out on October Read More...

In Pictures: President Bhandari inaugurates restored Rani Pokhari

KATHMANDU: President Bidya Devi Bhandari today inaugurated the restored Rani Pokhari, an important cultural heritage which lies at the heart of Kathmandu. During the inauguration programme, President Bhandari stated that reconstruction of Rani Pokhari was an important step towards the conservatio Read More...

Government’s decision to charge for COVID test, treatment draws flak

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The government’s decision not to provide free COV- ID-19 test and treatment to everybody has drawn flak from constitutional, legal and health experts. The government has decided to foot the COVID test and treatment cost of only the poor, helpless, single women, differen Read More...

Nepal Telecommunications Authority alerts subscribers to disinformation

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The Nepal Telecommunications Authority has appealed to all telecommunication subscribers of the country to be aware of the false and misleading information doing the rounds of late. Issuing a notice here today, the country’s telecommunications regulatory body stated tha Read More...

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurates Ranipokhari

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today inaugurated the historic Ranipokhari and the temple at the middle of the pond. The 2015 earthquakes had reduced the temple to rubble. President Bhandari was accompanied by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at the function today. Both th Read More...

National Examinations Board (NEB) Nepal

Grade XII exams from November 24

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The National Examination Board, which has been authorised by the government to conduct examinations of Grade XII, has finally published the notice about conducting the examinations from November 24 to December 1. The NEB devising the new protocol to hold the examination h Read More...

Teku’s Radha Krishna temple restored

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 UNESCO, in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology, has completed rebuilding of the shikhara-style Radha Krishna temple located at the confluence of the holy Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers at Teku, Kathmandu. To mark the completion, Jeev Nyas Puja, a ritual to Read More...