New Delhi: For those who think “witchcraft” and “witch-hunting” have no place in modern India, here is the stark reality. As many as 127 women were lynched and murdered in Jharkhand between 2012 and 2014 after been branded as “witches”.
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, minister of state for home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary quoted data maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to state that 26, 54 and 47 cases were reported under “murder for witchcraft” in Jharkhand during 2012, 2012 and 2014 respectively.
“Also, one case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was reported for witchcraft in 2013,” he added.
Jharkhand, said Chaudhary, had informed the home ministry that it was trying to tackle murders due to “witchcraft” by registering cases under IPC and Witchcraft Act against the perpetrators. “Continuous awareness programmes through print and visual media are being conducted. Help of NGOs in educating people on witchcraft-related superstition is being taken. SPs of all districts of the state have been instructed to launch massive campaign to eradicate witchcraft-related superstition and incidents,” he stated.
As per NCRB data for the year 2014, tribal-dominated Jharkhand with 47 murders for “witchcraft” accounted for over 30 per cent of such murders across the country. While the all-India figure for murder for witchcraft stood at 156, Odisha, another state with a good concentration of tribals, reported 32 murders under this head, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 24 cases, Chhattisgarh with 16 cases, Gujarat with 10 and Telangana with 8 cases.