Probe begins into Chhattisgarh witchcraft case

December 21st, 2008 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Dec 21 (IANS) The police Sunday began investigation into alleged forced hair-cut of about 50 women who were assaulted in a Chhattisgarh village after being branded as witches.The incident took place at a forested Dhodhakesra village in impoverished Surguja district, some 400 km north of the state capital Raipur.

“Chief Minister Raman Singh has taken a serious view of the incident of about 50 women being publicly humiliated and harassed,” an official statement said.

“Singh who termed the incident most inhuman, unfortunate and shameful has asked the police chief of the state to thoroughly investigate the case and ensure punishment to culprits under the law.”

Reports reaching here say that some villagers on advise of a religious person organised a nine-day purification ceremony at the village and forcibly cut hair of about 50 women who were also beaten up “to free them from impact of the evil spirits”.

The villagers had allegedly claimed these women were actually “witches” and they hosted a purification function to free them from evil powers.

With rising cases of harassment to women in the name of witchcraft, the state government enacted a Witchcraft (Prevention) Act, 2005, with provisions of jail term up to five years against the culprits.

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