Nephew brands aunt as witch, stabs her to death

Blames her for casting evil spells on family, villagers

A woman branded as a witch was stabbed to death by her nephew in the southern district of Dungarpur in Rajasthan, police said on Friday.

Ganesh Kumar was arrested for the murder of his 65-year-old aunt, Hanzana, at Bilia Fala village in Dungarpur district on Thursday evening.

Police said Ganesh Kumar, who works in Mumbai, came home for Dussehra.  “He started quarreling  with his  aunt, saying she was a witch who has been casting evil spells on family members and villagers,” a police official said.

The quarrel culminated in the stabbing the woman with a knife, and she succumbed to injuries.

“Her 10-year-old grandson, who tried to intervene, was beaten up. He is undergoing treatment,” said the officer. Ganesh was taken into police custody on Thursday night.
He told police that four of his uncles had died and other family members were not keeping well, and suspected an“evil spell” cast by his aunt as the root of the troubles.

In the first week of October, the state government had approved a bill proposing stringent punishment against branding women as witches after several cases of such incidents were reported.

Punishment

The Rajasthan Women (Prevention and Protection from Atrocities) Bill, 2011, proposed a maximum of seven years imprisonment and fine against those who grab the land of such women after forcing them to leave their homes.

If a woman commits suicide after being called a witch, the accused shall be given a prison sentence of not less than five years, which can be extended to 10 years, with a minimum fine of Rs 25,000.

According to the draft bill, the fine can be enhanced up to Rs 50,000.

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