07/24/2013, 00.00
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Two Nepalese women accused of witchcraft and tortured in a Buddhist monastery

by Kalpit Parajuli
Beaten and tortured all night by neighbours on suspicion of practicing black magic. Police arrested only two of those responsible. In Nepal traditionally older women or widows are often accused of being witches, and for this tortured and burned alive.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Dragged to a Buddhist monastery, beaten and forced to eat human feces: this is what happened to two ethnic Tamang women, accused of witchcraft by some villagers in Sindhupalchok district in northern Nepal. The event took place on July 22. The police have arrested two persons, but are on the trail of the other culprits. Buddhist monks in the area have distanced themselves from the torture inflicted on women.

The victims are Maili Tamang, 40, and Kanchhi Tamang, 27, from the village of Ichok. On the night of July 22, a group of people - mostly Buddhists - dragged the women to the local monastery where they began to torture them. "When we got there - Maili tells AsiaNews - we were beaten and tortured before they forced us to eat human feces."

The crowd - which included many young people - accused them of practicing black magic against the other villagers. "After - she continues - they made us promise not to reveal the incident to the police. But we did, because we are innocent."

At the moment the police have arrested Man Singh Tamang and Sunita Tamang, as instigators of violence against them. The others involved are still at large. Buddhist leaders have launched an appeal to the entire community, inviting everyone to maintain discipline in faith and asking the other monks to avoid any involvement.

Madhav Puodel, information minister and government spokesman, called what happened "a humiliating incident for the whole Nepalese society", and ensured that the culprits will be brought to justice.

Aggression is part of the traditional culture of the Hindu and Buddhist communities of Nepal. Often older women or widows are accused of practicing black magic and are beaten, tortured and sometimes burned alive.



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