Amidst recent campaigns to stop witch hunts in India, yet another woman has been murdered on accusations of being a witch. Champa Devi, a 70-year old widow, was working the fields in the small village of Kali Ghati in the Udaipur district of #Rajasthan when she was brutally beaten to death by a neighbor's family. The neighboring family blamed the elderly woman for the illness that had befallen their son.

The incident

Shankar Lal Meena took his son, Mohan, to see a local witch doctor. Mohan had been ill for some time and was not recovering. According to Meena, the witch doctor claimed that the elderly neighbor woman, Champa Devi, was casting evil spells on Mohan to keep him ill.

Meena then took matters into his own hands and brutally murdered Devi while she was working in her field.

The neighboring family accused Devi of performing witchcraft on their son. They surrounded her and beat her to death with sticks. Local police are currently investigating the murder.

Violence against women

According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, there have been over 2,000 murders between 2000 and 2012 that were related to accusations of witchcraft. The vast majority of the victims have been women. One survivor of a witch hunt, Chootni Mahto, has been trying to raise awareness for this epidemic since 1996.

Mahto was accused of witchcraft after the death of her husband's parents. Her husband abandoned her, and a mob left her for dead after a severe beating. She was saved by a passerby, and her brother helped her get back on her feet by giving her a plot of land.

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She built a hutment on this land and turned it into a center for abused women. Since then, Mahto has made it her life's mission to raise awareness for the movement known as the Superstition Elimination Mission. This organization has helped over 200 #indian women recover from abuse.

Legal action

Ajit Singh Shekhawat, director general of police in Rajasthan, has called for all precincts to take swift action against witch doctors in the region. So far, seven tantriks (witch doctors) have been arrested for inciting #Violence Against Women and practicing unwarranted exorcisms.

The arrests thus far have taken place in the districts of Chittorgarh and Bhilwara in Rajasthan. To further aid in seeking swift justice against "witch hunters," the local government has set up a system of fast-track courts. This new system is designed to expedite the processing of trials in the cases of witchcraft accusations and murder.