For women in Nepal, being branded as a witch can be the ultimate nightmare — leading to beatings, hatred and even murder. Now the government is taking steps to discourage such allegations.
Sunita Pudasaini never imagined she would ever again be accepted after being accused of practicing witchcraft in Jorpati, outside Kathmandu.
Now, four months after being physically tortured in March because of the allegation, she has been welcomed back by her community.
“Taking seriously the incident in Kathmandu, the government has decided in principle to enact a comprehensive anti-witchcraft law,” Trilochan Upreti, law secretary at the prime minister’s office, told Khabar. The proposed law treats witchcraft allegations seriously, with a convicted punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and an Rs 61,957.40 ($700) fine for those found to have levied false accusations.
Still, some women say that law alone will not dispel people’s superstitions.
Tip: @Krelnik (Tim Farley) via Twitter
It’s good to see the authorities take a serious look into this superstition as it not only ruins lives but in many cases also extinguishes them.
Nepal will hopefully follow through with the proposed new law and make witch allegations null and void. It IS the 21st century. We should be way past the point of believing in witches. And we should definitely be past the point of burning “witches”.
Note: In parts of Africa, there ARE already laws in place that should eliminate witchcraft accusations. They don’t . Laws are good but PEOPLE have to change to abide by them. Tough to fix.