Ranchi: The witch-hunting menace, which has seen many innocent women being persecuted, tortured and even killed in Jharkhand, has also hit their family members who are ostracised by villagers.
The practice of witchcraft prevails in several districts of Jharkhand, particularly Gumla, as casualties are reported from there every so often.
Just last month on January 9, Pawan Khadia, 45, and his wife Muni, 42, were killed by unknown assailants at Jorag under Sadar police station in Gumla district.
The couple`s daughter Kumari stated in an FIR, "Some villagers called my mother ?dayan` (witch) and killed both her and husband."
Her cousin Khusbu said that some villagers had convened a meeting sometime back on whose agenda was the topic `dayan`.
It is the same misery for siblings Bheron and Arjun of Birkera Tangritoli village, who had filed an FIR that their mother Butel Devi, 45, was brutally killed by unknown men on January 6.
There is an Act in the state "Prevention of Witch (DAAIN) Practices Act, 2001" to curb the crime, state minister for Social Welfare and Women & Child Development said.
She said, "Her department is engaged in spreading awareness among villagers to avail of medicines in the public health centres for any fever or disease instead of going to quacks."
She attributed such superstitions to poverty and illiteracy.