Woman accused of witchcraft, tortured

Panchthar, November 7

A woman in Panchthar’s Yangwarak Rural Municipality was forced to leave her home due to mental torture meted out to her by her own family members, who accused her of practising witchcraft.

The incident came to light after Puja Bharati, 32, of Yangbarak RM-2, Falaichan, reached Panchthar District Police Office and filed an application on Sunday, saying she was displaced due to the torture meted out by her father-in-law Kanta Prasad Giri on baseless accusation of practising ‘witchcraft’.

According to the victim, she fled her home and took refuge in her natal home in Hilihang Rural Municipality-3, Panchami after her father-in-law, in collusion with his neighbour Mahendra Prasad Poudel, beat her black and blue on the night of August 28.

“They called me a ‘witch’ and thrashed me mercilessly. When they were ready to attack me with a hot metal, I somehow managed to escape,” she recounted. “Though I had filed a complaint at nearby police office on the same night of the incident, the police didn’t do anything,” she bemoaned.

After the local police unit didn’t take any action on the complaint for over two months, she filed a complaint at the DPO. The perpetrators Kanta Prasad and Mahendra were said to be on the run. DPO Inspector Anil Kumar Poudel said search for the duo was on.

As per the locals, Prasad performs as a traditional shaman in his village, and according to the victim, her father-in-law had accused her of making her own husband sick by casting black magic. “He tortured me, saying I was the one who had cast my spells and made my husband sick,” she said, adding he had long been torturing her by accusing her of being a ‘witch’.