Women rights activist attacked for ‘witchcraft’

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

Sep 25, 2017-A Birgunj-based women rights activist was attacked over witchcraft allegation in her apartment on Sunday. 

Rajkumari Upadhyay, chairperson of the District Women Rights Forum, was beaten by her neighbours and their friends in her room.

Rajkumari, 55, said Sarita Shrestha, her sister Sonu Karki, the latter’s husband Bhogendra Karki, Priti Gurung, Priti’s husband Sunil and their daughter Jiya entered her room at around 1:30 am and attacked her.

“They knocked at my door at around 1:30 am. Soon after I answered the door they started attacking me,” Rajkumari said. 

Sarita, who is a self-professed shaman, had reportedly led the group to Upadhyay’s room in a bid to “expose” Rajkumari.  

After subduing Rajkumari, the attackers had allegedly thrown vermillion and rice grains brought by Sarita, and also taken the video of the incident. 

“They forced me to admit that I was a witch and that I used black magic to make Sonu and Jiya ill,” Rajkumari said.

Rajkumari’s daughter-in-law was also home at the time of the incident, but she was not allowed to come downstairs. 

She was rescued by other tenants in the house.

“The attackers were forcing her to admit that she was witch when we intervened. Police arrived shortly after and arrested them,” said Malati Shrestha, one of the tenants who had come to Rajkumari’s rescue.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Dipak Khadka said they have detained all six attackers and started the investigation.

Among the arrestees, Bhogendra Karki is said to be an Armed Police Force personnel. 

Rajkumari said she was left shaken after the incident. As a women rights activist, she had been advocating for women’s equality and fighting violence against women in her area. 

“I had never imagined such a thing could ever happen to me. They took me under control for about three hours and tortured me,” she said.

Published: 25-09-2017 07:41

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