Incident Reports

Witch Allegation Leads to Assault of 11


Saptari, Boksha- Bokshi ko aroop ma 1 barsa ma 11 jana pratadit. November 30, The allegation of being witch has been leveled against 11 persons in 11 months in the district. Among them, 10 are women and one is man. From January to November, the District Court remanded one accused in prison while nine were released on bail while an arrest warrant has been issued against one. Of the 11 complaints filed at the police station in the last 11 months, two have been moved to court while four were closed after mediation by the police and there has been no action in five complaints. Both of the cases taken to court remain pending. Of the four cases settled by the police, two were in the District Police Office, one in Rupani Area Police Office and one in Diman police station. Remain complaints filed at District Police Office, District Administration Office and Women and Children Service Center remained unattended. In one case, a man who was accused of being a witch was overseen by ‘so-called’ shaman in the premises of the Area Police Office but no action was taken against the perpetrators. Most of the cases reported to the police are found to be not one off attack but the ones reported after the victims could not take the assault any longer or suffered from some injuries due to the assault. Even when the incidents of allegations of witches are filed at the police stations, they are settled out of court under the pressure of villagers, society, political parties and even the family members. The victims complain that as the people mediating in the discussion to settle the case, either from the victim’s side or the perpetrators’ get some payment or feast so they tend to stress on mediation rather than legal action. It is found that most of the perpetrators, thrashing or feeding human excreta to the victims or expelling the victims are the relatives or neighbors. Saying that most of the victims are dalit, single women or poor women, a rights activist Bishnu Koirala expressed satisfaction that the new provision of making the perpetrators pay the compensation to the victims was in the offing. Another activist Sabita Neupane said that weak laws and dual role of the police was perpetuating the problem of witch allegation. However, police reject the charge claiming they adopt zero tolerance policy in the cases of violence against women. DSP Kedar Dhakal asserted that they had been taking legal action if the people of found guilty in the cases. Manoh


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