Villagers ask MLA to join them in witch-hunt

Villagers ask MLA to join them in witch-hunt

A legislator in Duddhi Assembly constituency in UP’s backward Sonebhadra district, Ruby Prasad, found herself in a difficult situation when some voters from a village in her constituency approached her with a ‘shocking’ request.

They wanted her to help them banish a tribal woman from their village, who was allegedly a witch and was responsible for the death of several people and cattle for the last few months.

The woman, identified as Bhagia, a mother of three, was being hounded by people in Jorkahu village. A panchayat meeting had to be convened to decide her fate.

“People have been exerting pressure on me to throw Bhagia out of the village. I know the allegations against her are rubbish as people are superstitious in these parts,” said the legislator.

According to reports, some people in the village had died in the last few months, leading villagers to suspect that it could be the handiwork of some bhoot (ghost). They approached an ojha (exorcist), who told them that Bhagia was in fact a witch and she had been killing people and the livestock.

Then people told Bhagia and her sons to leave the village. The villagers also approached the police, following which a panchayat meeting was held. Even village elders asked her to leave.

When Bhagia refused to go away, the villagers asked her to get treatment from the exorcist so that the spirit that had possessed her leaves her body.

The legislator, realising the gravity of the problem, also asked Bhagia to do so. But even after Bhagia was treated by a local exorcist, villagers said the ghost had not left her and she must be banished.

Villagers have threatened to do something themselves if the tribal woman did not leave soon. “I plan to raise the matter in the state Assembly and request the government to take measures to create awareness among such villagers,” said the legislator. Bhagia continues to live in fear.

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