Udaipur : Black magic practitioners, called bhopas or ojha, still hold sway in wide swathes of tribal-dominated areas in South Rajasthan. And faith often becomes a fig leaf to victimize women. One such horrifying incident has been reported from Banswara district where a 23-year old woman was molested and physically abused. When her mother tried to rescue her daughter, the bhopas burnt her hands by placing them inside the ‘hawan-kund’. Police has arrested three men under The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act, 2015.
Ramtu wife of Ramji Katara, a 53-year old woman from Kajaliya village under Anandpuri police station limits, gave a written complaint to the police that her 23-year old daughter was married few months ago. She fell sick and complained of burning stomach and severe pain in the abdomen. On Sunday night, Ramtu along with other family members took her daughter to a Bhopa ki Dhuni at Khunti Mundri to get treated by the village bhopas. Three self styled bhopas Subash (36), Laxman (42) Bhavji (61) examined the woman and told Ramtu that her daughter has been possessed by a witch and that she had to be treated privately. The men made Ramtu and her family members wait outside while they took her daughter inside a hut.
They touched her inappropriately and tried molesting her. As the woman resisted their moves and shouted for help, they pushed her on the ground calling her a witch. Ramtu ran inside the hut to her daughter’s rescue where the three men forcibly placed her hands on the flames inside the hawan kund. The other family members managed to rescue both of the women and rushed them to hospital. ” On the complaint from the woman, we have arrested the three accused men under sections 354, 323, 326, 386 and 34 of the IPC as well as section 4 (1), 5,6 (1) (2) (3) of The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act. An investigation is underway and the accused are being interrogated for more details of the incident” Kesar Singh Shekhawat, SP Banswara told Udaipur Kiran.
In previous occasions too, similar incidents of witch hunts, branding and victimizing women have been reported from Khamera, Kalinjara and Kushalgarh areas of the district. ” Despite increasing awareness and stringent legal provisions witch hunts, occult practices, and age old tradition of branding continues even in this modern age. The police department tries to enlighten villagers not to trust such fake people for medical treatment and report whenever they such barbaric acts being committed that goes unreported many times” Shekhawat said.