A woman has been admitted at the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences after she was brutally beaten by her villagers for ‘practising witchcraft’.

35-year-old woman Murti Devi Yadav, of Kursandi Rural Municipality-, Nawarajpur in Siraha, was beaten indiscriminately by a group of locals, including Devnath Yadav, Krishna Yadav, Brahma Yadav and Dharmanath Yadav as well as his sons Santosh and Pashupati on August 12.

As per Murti Devi’s son Ganesh, a child had fallen ill while another died after being struck by a thunder bolt in their village a few days ago. However, the men accused Murti Devi of sickening and killing the kids through witchcraft and beat her.

“They dragged my mother out of our house in the middle of the night, brutally beat her up, and threw her in the nearby field. They also force-fed human excreta to my mother and when I went to rescue her, they even thrashed me,” said Ganesh.

He accused the police of refusing to take any action against the perpetrators even after he reported about the incident.

Immediately after the incident, Murtidevi was admitted to Lahan’s Kamana Nursing Home but was later shifted to Dharan as her treatment was not possible at the Lahan-based hospital.

The doctors involved in her treatment said that she had sustained a broken chin and cheek bones. She needs surgery to fix her broken bones, the doctors said.

Ganesh added that the perpetrators had threatened him and his mother against filing a police complaint, saying that they would file false charges of stealing against the mother-son duo if they pressed formal charges.

Murti Devi or her son have not been able to file a police complaint although they’ve informed the police about the incident.

The 2015 Witchcraft Act prohibits any accusations of witchcraft and stipulates a jail term for five to ten years and a fine of Rs 50,000.

But accusations of witchcraft, almost always followed by acts of violence, continue unabated across the country.

Such accusations are almost always directed at marginalised members of the community by those with better socio-economic standing.