A tribal woman, Dhani Murmu (45) was lynched on Thursdayt for allegedly practising witchcraft at village Churchu under Churchu police station of Hazaribag district by her brother-in-law and three relatives.
Surendra Ravidas, officer-in-charge of the Churchu police station said on Friday that wife of Nanku Charhe, brother-in-law of the victim was ill for quite for sometime and was not responding to treatment. When all efforts failed, Nanku was compelled to approach ‘ojhas and tantriks’ to understand the reason behind this and seek ways for speedy recovery. The latter visited Nanku’s house and said it was due to the witchcraft by Dhani Murmu that Nanku’s wife was not recovering and unless she is eliminated, condition of Nanku’s wife will not improve.
On hearing this, Nanku and three other relatives dragged her out of the house and started beating her with lathis due to which she fell unconscious.
Nyamizi, a 73-year-old widow from Sukumaland, Tanzania, was returning home from work one night when she was attacked by a man with a machete. He chopped off her hand and slashed her head, knocking her unconscious.
She had earlier received a threatening letter telling her to leave her village. Nyamizi believes it was sent by a neighbour whose child had died, and who was told by a traditional healer that she was responsible for the death using witchcraft.
Extreme violence and abuse against older women related to witchcraft allegations is common in Sukumaland, according to the NGO HelpAge International. The Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre said that between 2004 and 2009 more than 2,585 older women were killed in eight regions of the country because of alleged witchcraft.