'200 women branded witches, killed every year'



Dehra Dun: Nearly 150 to 200 women are killed every year in India after being tagged as 'witches', a Dehra Dun based NGO has said citing National Crime Bureau statistics.

Jharkhand tops the list with 50-60 witchcraft-related murders every year followed by Andhra Pradesh where the number is around 30, Haryana 25-30 and Orissa 24-28, Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) chairman Avdhash Kaushal claimed.

Jharkhand is not the only state where women are facing barbaric attacks in the name of witchcraft; such incidents are common in Orissa, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, Kaushal said.

In the past 15 years, more than 2,500 women were killed after being accused of practicing witchcraft, according to a study conducted by RLEK.

Five women were stripped and paraded naked last year in Patharghatia village in Deodhar district of Jharkhand.

In yet another incident, a 40-year old woman was lynched allegedly by her women neighbours at Sikariatand village in Simdega district of the same state, Kushal claimed.

"It is very sad that women are still being killed rampantly after being declared witches. Majority of these incidents are not reported in the media," Kaushal, a recipient of Padam Shri, said.

He said in order to overcome the menace a national legislation was needed.

"We will soon file a writ petition in the court of law to seek a remedy in the form of a new legislation from Parliament on the issue," he said.

PTI