Women Fight Back Against Witch-Branding in Rajasthan
Betwa Sharma – New York Times – Friday, 26 October 2012
RAJASTHAN ––Shanta Devi was branded a witch nearly a decade ago, after her family was plagued by long bouts of fever and breathing problems.
Villagers still cover their faces while crossing the 65-year-old woman, who lives in a tribal belt about 60 miles outside Udaipur city in the desert state of Rajasthan. Last year, the branded woman’s relatives were advised by a witch doctor to make her drink goat’s blood as a cure. But she refused, even as neighbors wielded sticks in her backyard to pressure her into doing so.
For generations, women have been frequently branded as witches in villages spread across the dusty Aravalli hills and elsewhere in rural parts of India, blamed for unexplained or incurable illnesses among villagers and livestock. The lack of medical facilities near remote villages allows these superstitious beliefs to prevail . . .
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