Birubala Rabha, Who Fought India’s Witch Hunts, Dies at 75

Victims of witch hunts faced terrible punishments “Modern Witch Hunting Practices,” a 2015 report by the nonprofit Indian Legal Foundation on Development Law. They may be “forced to strip naked,” the report said, “paraded naked in public, have their hair cut or cut, their faces blackened, their noses cut off, their teeth extracted to ‘remove their teeth,’ and holes gouged out.” eyes, beatings, gang rape, force-feeding human feces, cow dung” or “killing by hanging, beheading, execution or burying alive.”

Mrs. Rabha traveled from village to village in Assam to speak out against this practice and declared that there was no such thing as “daini” or witches. She had long been suspicious of folk superstitions and the medicine men who cast spells on young women to ward off what they believed were evil spirits. As a young mother, Rabha was told by a local physician that her mentally ill son would soon die; he didn’t. That erroneous prediction in the 1980s was the seed of her advocacy work, which she began in earnest around 2000.

That year, she stood up at a meeting in Lakhipur village, also in Assam, in support of five women accused of witchcraft; she did not back down when hundreds of villagers surrounded her house the next day.

Usha Rabha recalls her first rescue mission with Ms. Rabha in 2006, when a stick-wielding mob surrounded them in a neighboring state. “I was so scared,” she said. But Birubala was “completely unfazed,” Ms. Rabha said. When police came to rescue the two women, she said, Birubala “reprimanded the police, saying, ‘I won’t stop until I finish what I do.’”

In Assam, in the 2000s, Birubala Rabha allied with the state’s former director general of police, Kuladhar Saikia. “She came to me and discussed these issues,” Mr. Saikia recalled in an interview, adding, “She told me that she was standing up against social injustice.”


News 7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button