Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India,
Government of India
Witch hunting is still prevalent and brutally practiced in the twenty-first century in the rural part of India. Almost every other day, a woman is branded a witch or victimised for witch-hunting in the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh, where Government and NGOs deliberately keep mum on that issue. PVCHR came to know through local dailies and activists that witch hunting are committed in the remotest corner of the State as it is practiced in Mayourpur block of Dudhi tehsil in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh.
To probe into the fact that women branded ‘witch’, then a team of the psycho therapist reached Mayourpur and provided the psychological support through testimonial therapy to the two women (Please see Smt. Jagesari Devi’s testimony at www.testimonialtherapy.org/2011/09/i-think-am-i-really-witch.html and Smt. Somari Devi’s testimony at www.testimonialtherapy.org/2011/09/im-not-disturbed-by-fact-that-i-was.html) and a couple’s testimony such as Smt. Manbasiya testimony at www.testimonialtherapy.org/2011/09/if-i-am-witch-then-why-i-was-undressed.html and (Jodhi Lal’s testimony at www.testimonialtherapy.org/2011/09/my-wife-branded-witch-and- then.html) those who had to undergo the trials and tribulations emanating out of witch hunting.
Mayourpur, a place which is quite economically backward, where people have almost no access to the basic necessities of life be it education and health care. In this kind of situation, people tend to be steeped into obscurantism and superstition. And anything bad that might befall these villagers like bad crop, diseases, sudden and unexplained death of someone in the family, or drying of well tend to be considered the work of some evil ‘witch’. Thus begins a witch hunt to locate the person responsible. When daughter of Jagesari’s brother-in-law Sahdev died due to illness on August 1, 2010, she went to Sahdev’s house to condole the death, she saw that an ojha present there. He started branding Jagesari as a dayan (witch) and made her responsible for the death. The villagers gathered for the burial stood as mute spectators and her tongue was slashed as punishment.
PVCHR forwarded the cases to the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi and Director General of Police (DGP) Lucknow and to Mr. Deepak Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Sonebhadra in a vide letter no. एस /शि - 26 ए/11 dated 9th May 2011 directed to be vigilant in preparing a list of actors, who brand women as witch, especially the Ojha, Sokha and the others involved in this type of activity. It requested to hold regular meetings with an effort to create awareness against the practice of witch hunting
We demand a national legislation and special empowerment programme for the women in the witch hunting- prone area and awareness campaign to promote education and health.