NDTV (India), Nov. 9, 2002
In a shocking incident, a 41-year-old widow was tied up and tortured for 12 hours in a village near Hyderabad, because villagers suspected her of practicing witchcraft.
After a rumour spread in the village that she had used black magic to kill a youth, villagers tied her hands with a cloth, poured kerosene and set it on fire.
Sattamma, who worked as a farm labourer, had to have her hands amputated and now fears further retribution because she has reported the matter to the police.
“I am very scared to go back to the village. They poured kerosene and set me on fire. My sons are young. I am afraid about what they may do to them,” she said.
The incident came to light a month after it occurred when Sattamma approached the district police fearing for the life of her three sons.
“We have posted some pickets in the village and our officers are going to the village. They are ensuring that no further harassment takes place,” said MV Ramachandra Raju, Superintendent of Police, Ranga Reddy.
As many as 76 villages in Ranga Reddy district have reported incidents of black magic and witch-hunting. Attempts to create awareness have made little headway.
So far 15 people have been arrested and sent to judicial custody. If convicted the accused face a jail term of a few months and fine up to Rs 5000. But in most such cases, the conviction rate is negligible.