I am Somari Devi. I am 40 years old. My husband’s name is Dinesh Gaur. We live in Balliaripur village, which in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh I have 3 sons and all of them are married. Eldest son is Sanjay, who is literate. Raghunath Prasad is the second son and the youngest is Deendayal. We till and plough our 2 bighas of land for running the household.
On 14th January 2010, at the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti, people were happy and rejoicing. I went outside the home and then it came to my mind that the cow had to be tied in the rope. It was around 2 pm. I untied the cow from the stake and crossed the road to attach the rope to another pole and I was accompanied by my husband. He was calling the cows. When I had tied the cow to the post, suddenly Shivnarayan Gaur stood in front of me and tried to create mischief. I was not able to understand what’s was the matter. I had never talked to Shivnarayan nor had I quarrelled with him.
Within in no time I called me ‘witch’ and pushed me in the nearby burning fire. But the fire was not so virulent. Back side of my saree caught fire. I was wearing a cotton petticoat so it was a saving grace for me. My husband rushed and rushed me to home. Then also, my left and right arm got burnt. Even it affected the lower portion of my body. Shivnarayan ran away and my daughters-in-law applied balm in the burnt portion of my body and changed my saree. I was not worried that I got burnt but it always reverberated in my ears the word ‘witch’, which he branded me. Earlier nobody had called me a ‘witch’. Whenever I think about it, it has a repulsive effect in my body. I think, if my husband would not have been there, then I would have been killed. It enrages me like anything. Why did he call me ‘witch’ and I feel disgraced. People in their hush tone point out there must me something so only I was branded a ‘witch’ It disturbs me like anything. To whom I have to prove my innocence. I start crying thinking about it.
Next day, I went along with my husband to Dudhi police station and narrated the entire incident. A FIR was filed against the guilty. Policemen came and took Shivnarayan to the police station. In the police station he accepted his fault and told that he had committed the crime under influence of alcohol or intoxicant. He fell in the feet of the police officials. Though I had pardoned him but still I have not forgiven. Women in the society are abused, humiliated, and battered. Is this a civilised society? I am quite relieved sharing my woes with you. Whoever has committed the crime should be given an exemplary punishment.
Therapist: Farhat Shaba Khanam & Meena Patel