» 08/22/2013, 00.00
Nepal, anti-witchcraft activists 'terrified' after murder of Narendra Dabholkar
The murder of the Indian, who fought against black magic, leads activists to fear for their safety. In Nepal fake witchcraft is widespread and targets mainly the elderly and widows. In August, five women forced to drink urine and ingest human feces.
- Fear and terror
is rife among Nepalese activists fighting
against the false practice of witchcraft
and black magic, after the assassination of Indian Narendra
Dabholkar. The man was murdered on August 20 for always having criticized this kind of superstition.
After his death, the Maharashtra yesterday approved
anti-black magic law, the first in India.
In Nepal, the issue is very sensitive, because some practices and superstitions belonging
to the Hindu tradition are still
widespread, affecting mostly women
- usually elderly
or single - of the most vulnerable ethnic or social groups. According
to local NGOs, in August at least five women were accused of witchcraft and forced to drink urine and ingest human
Dr. Renu Rajbhandari,
human rights activist, told
AsiaNews that only a few cases come to light, but still
hundreds of women are killed on fake
charges of witchcraft and magical
practices. "Hinduism - he
said - has subjugated women in
societies dominated by this religion,
like Nepal. And many elderly are even burned
alive over a charge of witchcraft."
Govinda Tolon, an expert in Hindu culture and newly
elected director of the Pashupatinath Temple, admits a certain weakness of this religion: "Some groups in Nepal continue to practice Hinduism in the wrong way, because of their own ignorance. Similar gestures
are rooted there and will take time
to erradicate. But real Hinduism is opposed to all kinds of false magical
Nepali widow burned alive, accused of witchcraft
Thegani Devi Yadav, 40, supported two children and in-laws with her work. The government provides compensation and punishes the culprits. A famous healer and magician, tied her and set her on fire with the help of some villagers. Human rights activists explain that "it is a very common practice" and the legacy of a society "dominated by Hinduism."
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Maharashtra government banning black magic
The step was taken after the murder of Narendra Dabholkar. The well-known activist who fought for years against fake magical practices and animal sacrifices was shot dead by unknown gunmen. Since 1995, the state was trying to adopt such a measure, always coming up against the opposition of radical Hindu groups.
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