Saturday, July 31, 2010

As many as 200 women are lynched every year in India after being accused of practising witchcraft

The deaths are most prevalent in poverty-stricken villages populated by tribal groups in the northern Indian state of Jharkhand, with cases also reported in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Orissa. Avdhash Kaushal, chairman of the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, said that most victims were single or widowed and were often targeted for their land or money. They are often forced to drink urine or eat excreta in public and are then paraded naked through the village. An estimated 200 are killed each year, with many more committing suicide afterwards out of shame. In the last 15 years, more than 2500 women have been killed for being witches, Kaushal estimated.

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