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Rajasthan: Woman beaten up by relatives after being branded as a witch

Rajasthan: Woman beaten up by relatives after being branded as a witch

Hansa Devi lodged an FIR against 5 relatives who claimed that she was a witch and was casting spells in the village

Jaipur: A tribal woman in Rajasthan was branded as a witch and beaten up by five of her relatives, against whom she filed a police complaint on Saturday. Hansa Devi, 47, a resident of Rohida village in Sirohi district, some 400 km from Jaipur, lodged a first information report (FIR) against her five relatives accusing them of beating her frequently, a police official said.

"According to the victim's statement, the relatives claimed she was a witch and was casting evil spells on others in the village," said a police officer. "It seems the relatives want to grab her property. We have registered the case and launched an investigation. The accused are on the run," said the officer. Those named by Hansa Devi in the complaint included her brother-in-law Gamanaram Ghanchi and his wife Jamana Devi, police said.

Several cases of women being branded witches and harassed have been reported in the state. According to the draft Rajasthan Women (Prevention and Protection from Atrocities) Bill, 2011 a crime would be considered to have been committed when any person or community intentionally or inadvertently abets, conspires, aids and instigates the identification of a woman as a witch, leading to her mental and physical torture and humiliation.The bill has proposed a maximum imprisonment for seven years and a fine for those who grab property of such women.
first published:August 03, 2013, 18:36 IST