Monday, April 06, 2009

Witch hunts and scarlet letters

Ring ring, Pot? this is Kettle calling
From Patan to Pakistan

Even a cursory glance at the Indian media and blogosphere shows people getting pretty uppity about the horrific Pakistan flogging case.

Other South Asians don't have room to talk. All this stuff happens regularly in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and they don't even usuaily do it "in the name of Islam."

Take last week's case of a Nepali girl - not even in a remote region, but here by the urban centre Kathmandu - accused of witchcraft and tortured. Pyuthar village is within Lalitpur District (very near, if not precisely within, the capitol city)

And that, by a primary school headmaster! If this is what the educators are doing, imagine what the "general populace" are up to, or at very least, what an example that sets for them.

I scoured all the reports I saw, and still could not find an account of what exactly the poor girl had actually done, nor of what exactly she'd been accused of doing ("witchcraft" could mean anything at all, from drawing a design on the ground to being seen with the wrong person).

BK was allegedly tortured by villagers in allegation of practicing witchcraft. BK said she was beaten up, abused and even made to eat human excreta by a group of people in the village. Mar 27 09

I am glad, for lack of a better word, that the flogging case is being spotlighted this way - as it deserves. But such treatment is not so unusual, nor restricted to places like Swat Valley. .

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