Saturday, October 24, 2009
Five women were paraded naked, beaten and forced to eat human excrement by villagers after being branded as witches in India's Jharkhand state
Local police said the victims were Muslim widows who had been labelled as witches by a local cleric. The incident occurred in a remote village in Deoghar district. The abuse of women who are branded as witches is common, but rare footage of the incident has caused outrage across India. Police went to Pattharghatia village after being informed about the incident by a group of villagers. Police say that people in Pattharghatia believe that certain women in their village are possessed by a "holy spirit" that can identify those who practise witchcraft. Hundreds of people, mostly women, have been killed in India because their neighbors thought they were witches.