Killing for

Financial Times, August 2, 2002 12:57am

Statesman News Service JALPAIGURI, Aug. 2. — Killing women for allegedly practicing witchcraft is on the rise in the Jalpaiguri district. Records show that such incidents take place in the region’s tea belts.

Five women were hacked to death for allegedly practising witchcraft in the Kilkote tea estate in Metiali on 29 July. Police recovered the bodies of two of them from from Murti river bank last night. Ten people, including five women, were arrested in connection with the incident. All of them are labourers in the Kilkote tea estate, police said.

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About 11 women have been killed so far in the Dooars this year against eight last year. In the past 10 years, 79 women have been killed in the district for allegedly practising witchcraft. And all these took place in the tea garden areas.

Lack of proper education in the tea gardens and the forest villages is responsible for this, says the intelligentsia here.

According to Prof. S K Ghosh, witch-hunting can be minimised by providing proper education and improving sanitation in the tea garden belts and forest villages.

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