An alleged case of witchcraft has surfaced from Bhilwara district where a 35-year-old woman was beaten with grills and cauterised with pliers in the name of freeing her from an evil spirit, police said on Saturday.
A police official from Bhilwara said the incident happened on November 21. An FIR was registered under section 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing heart) and 34 (criminal act done by several persons) of Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch-hunting Act.
In her statement to police, the victim said that she, along with her relatives, had gone to visit a sorcerer in Chalaniya village of the district. “When I reached the spot, my sister-in-law and other people forcibly pulled me towards the sorcerer. I opposed it, but I failed. Later, along with the accused and his aides, I was beaten with grills, cauterised with pliers in the name of freeing spirit from my body and brutally tortured,” the statement of the victim reads.
She added that the accused also took Rs 5,000 from her in the name of worshipping a local deity and freeing the spirit. “The aides of the accused threatened me with repercussions if I inform the police,” she said.
“Because of the beating I was horrified and fainted. Next day my relatives who had taken me to the sorcerer took me home. I wanted to inform my husband, who was out of town, about the incident but the sorcerer had snatched the phone from me. My husband reached home after a few days. When he had called on my number, he got a reply from the sorcerer that I am sleeping and will come home in a few days,” the victim said.
Shahpura additional superintendent of police Vimal Singh said the police have registered a case against the brother-in-law, sister-in-law of the victim and others.
“We are investigating the case sensitively and trying our best to nab the absconding accused,” added Singh.
Further investigation is on.
According to the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch-hunting Act, 2015, “witch” – locally known as “dayan”, “dakan”, “dakin” – means a woman, who has been identified by any person or persons believing her to be in possession of, or as having, any evil power for causing any harm to any person or property.
Occult practices involve pulling women’s hair, beating up them with a broom, iron rod and pliers and dancing in front of them with the chanting of unintelligible phrases to “liberate” them.