Indian Witch Hunting
While witch hunts may seem to be dusty relics of a bygone age, the persecution, torture and execution of suspected witches continue in many places to the present day.
The problem is especially palpable in India. Two weeks ago in a small Indian village not far from Nepal, Saraswati Devi, 45, was accused of being a witch after a local mystic identified her as having practiced black magic, reported The Washington Post. Over a dozen villagers beat Devi to death as punishment, while her two children tried to intervene. Though Devi's husband identified her attackers and notified police, no arrests were made, news reports reveal.
Saraswati's is just one of many gruesome witch tales out of India. Some 2,097 individuals have been murdered due to accusations of witchcraft between 2000 and 2012, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau in India, as reported by the Indian newspaper Mint. "Once practiced only by tribal communities, witch hunting is now becoming common among Dalits and other minority communities. The idea of a witch is common across all the affected [Indian] states," the Mint report said. (The Dalits are an oppressed group in India who are considered "untouchables" or "outcasts.")