Woman attacked for 'witchcraft'

Rajasthan police Saturday began probing an alleged attack on a woman by villagers who labelled her as a witch. Five villagers, including two women, have been charged in the case, an official said. According to police, Kamla of Modar village in Dungarpur district complained that she was being tagged as a witch and was tortured by some villagers. She said they came to her house and beat her up, asking her to leave the village. "A report has been filed against five villagers, including two women," a police official at the Bichiwara police station said. There have been many similar incidents in Rajasthan in the past when women were accused of witchcraft and attacked.
In some cases it even led to suicides. The state's women's commission had prepared a draft bill on the issue, which was sent to the state government over four years ago. No action has yet been taken on it. According to the draft Rajasthan Prevention of Witch (Dain) Practices Bill, any such attack against women must be considered a crime and the guilty punished severely. The bill proposed that if a woman commits suicide after being called a witch, then the accused shall be jailed for a minimum of five years, which can be extended to 10 years.