On July 28, 2014 the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported that a 60-year-old woman in India was branded as a witch and was stripped, tied to a utility pole and savagely beaten. This practice is far from being the first of its kind in the eastern India area, as well as other regions. However, it is a disturbing reminder of the harsh realities of the world around us. As Pagan's here in the US we often forget how the rest of the world, particularly the third world countries, views things that they cannot otherwise explain. In the case of this 60-year-old Indian woman the lesson rings with what we may view as insanity.
The Indian woman had been accused of being the cause of the death of an 18-year-old man who died of malaria. Rather than accepting the reality of the cause of the death the local people of the eastern India village took it upon themselves to accuse her of practicing witchcraft on him and causing his death. One would think that in an area that is prone to diseases such as malaria that the local people would be more understanding of the death of such a young man and yet they accused, attacked and nearly killed the 60-year-old woman.
District Superintend of Police, G.C. Mallick told the Thomson Reuters Foundation "We rescued the woman and admitted her to a local hospital. She has received head injuries. She is critical." He later went on to say "I have never witnessed such an inhuman incident during my three decades of service." The local police reported that the attack took place on Sunday and that the woman was tied up for roughly 12 hours as they beat and tortured the accused witch.
From this far away from a place where such a thing could happen it is hard to imagine that the practice of accusing someone of being a witch and following that with brutal assaults and murder is a common practice. Yet for many tribal like communities around the world this is a common practice. Just in India in 2013 there were 160 cases of murder based on the accusation of witchcraft. For these people in these communities anything that they do not fully understand, cannot easily explain, or simply do not like it is easier to deal with it by calling someone a witch and severely injuring them or killing them over it.
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