- Posted August 27, 2013 by
Woman on run after being accused of witch
Forty-five-years-old Saraswati Devi is in exile from her village Bishrampur after being blamed for practicing witchcraft in her village in Birgunj.
She was physically assaulted and forced to eat human excreta by her own relatives on August 7.
She expressed her feelings saying, “I feel mentally traumatized being treated like this by my own relatives. I am a widow and I have no one to protect me they are after my property so they have done this. I don’t deserve this but there is no one to support me.”
Meanwhile, Chief District Officer Kailash Kumar Bajimaya said the local administration would relocate her in the village and take action against the culprits.
SP Dhiraj Pratap Singh said Devmati Devi, 43, Lalchuniya Devi, 41 and Manjaya Chaurasiya, 18, had been arrested.
There are no special legislative provisions against witchcraft related violence in the country and very few governmental and nongovernmental organizations are working in the area of witchcraft related violence.
Although the country has passed out laws and different provisions for women along with this according to the Country's Interim Constitution, Part 3 ‘Fundamental Right', Article 20 ‘Rights of Women' explains that “no one shall be discriminated in any form merely for being a woman and no physical, mental or any other form of violence shall be inflicted to any woman, and such an act shall be punishable by law". Nevertheless, there is still no law specifically criminalizing attacks on women accused of witchcraft.
According to WOREC Nepal, it came across 198 cases of VAW in the month of Shrawan (mid-July to mid-August) alone. Of the total cases, 75 women were victims of domestic violence, nine were murdered, 41 were raped and 41 suffered social violence.
There were 14 rape attempts, 10 sexual violence cases, two trafficking cases and one attempt-to-murder case, reads the statement. Among the recent cases of VAW, a 13-year old girl was gang-raped in Rautahat district, a woman was murdered in Parsa district for inability to conceive, and women in different parts of country were thrashed on the charge of practising witchcraft.
In the absence of effective legal safeguards, scores of women in Nepal accused of practicing witchcraft are being beaten and forcefully fed human excreta and even killed. Allegation of witchcraft and violence related to it is inflicted mostly on the poor, widow, helpless, elderly and destitute women who are vulnerable and have no protection against it. They are suppressed and their voices are concealed.