Rasul Bano Khatun, 48, of Lapanimal VDC-1 was mercilessly thrashed by villagers last Wednesday. According to Khatun, over two dozen men and women from her neighborhood entered her house and thrashed her accusing her of practicing witchcraft.
The villagers also manhandled other members of Khatun´s family. The villagers relented only after police arrived to rescue Khatun. Khatun has been living a life of ignominy in her own Muslim community. She has also lodged a complaint at the District Police Office (DPO), Bara after Inspector Rajendra Shrestha of Area Police Office at Simara refused to accept her complaint. “DPO has summoned both parties for a settlement,” said assistant sub- Inspector at the DPO Ratan Subedi. “I have not seen such an injustice in my whole life,” said Khatun´s other-in-law Jamun.
Khatun was accused of practicing witchcraft after one of the Khatun´s neighbor Dohahakim Hawari´s daughter, Bhuili was taken ill.
Hawari had called a meeting of local people on Saturday and asked Khatun to exorcise the evil spirit from his daughter´s body. Khatun was helpless but villagers misconstrued her silence as confession of her guilt. “This is the serious issue of human rights violation. The aggressors must be brought to book,” said rights activist Bidur Khadka.
Superstition and unfounded beliefs about witchcraft and black magic are no defence when it comes to the abuse and battery of an innocent woman. We can only hope that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to justice and that efforts are made to counteract the dangerous superstitions and beliefs that lead to these sorts of things happening.