Woman branded 'witch', assaulted in Himachal Pradesh; 21 held

Dharmendra Joshi

Shimla, Nov 10 (PTI) Twenty-one people were arrested for allegedly parading an 81-year-old woman in her village after blackening her face and garlanding her with shoes on the suspicion that she practised sorcery, police said on Sunday.

The police swung into action and made arrests only after the video of the incident, which took place on Wednesday, went viral on social media and came to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s notice, prompting him to direct police to register an FIR. The woman was assaulted in Samahal village under Gahar Panchayat in Sarkaghat sub-division, they said.

“We have arrested 21 people in this regard and further investigation is on,” Mandi Superintendent of Police Gaurav Sharma told PTI.

Meanwhile, the woman's daughter told media in Hamirpur that she had feared such incident may happen and lodged a police complaint on October 23.

The SP said a policeman visited the village the next day after the complaint was received. The complaint was, however, withdrawn later, he added. PTI DJI AD