Target: Prime Minister Monmohan Singh
Goal: Demand action from the Indian government to end witch hunts and protect women in parts of rural India.
In rural parts of India, poor harvests, droughts, and illnesses are ascribed to the supernatural. Villagers consult witch doctors who are reputed to have the power to protect against black magic and identify those who supposedly cast the spell. In many cases women are accused of being witches and are targeted by mobs who strip them naked, beat them, and burn them alive. Sign the petition to ask the Indian government to take action and end the practice of witch hunts.
There is strong belief in the supernatural through many parts of India. However, lynchings for witchcraft are more common in the rural eastern provinces that are poorer than the rest of the country. In Assam and West Bengal it is estimated 750 people have been killed for witchcraft since 2003. In the Chhattisgarh it is estimated that annually 100 women are tortured, paraded naked, harassed, or killed because of suspected witchcraft.
Chutney Mohato is one woman who was accused of being a witch sixteen years ago. She was stripped naked, beaten, and nearly killed by villagers in eastern Jharkhand, a province of India. She was forced to flee the village leaving behind her home and property. Accusations of witchcraft are often motivated by economic interests and bound up in property disputes. Female landowners like Mohato, a rarity in rural India, are often targeted by male counterparts to acquire their property and are often humiliated sexually by being paraded naked.
Witchcraft in India exists as a form of economic and gender violence targeted in a way to disempower women. Mohato now runs an organization to help women combat accusations of witchcraft and fight back against those superstitions. Sign the petition to ask the Indian government to take a more proactive approach in protecting women from accusations of witchcraft.
Dear Prime Minister Monmohan Singh,
I am a human rights activist writing to urge the Indian government take action to end the practice of witch-hunts in rural parts of Eastern India. Witch-hunting exists as a form of economic and gender violence targeted against women. The vast majority of those accused of witchcraft are women. The women that are targeted are often independent female landowners who are forced to leave their property behind in order to escape with their lives. They are often subject to humiliation that is sexual in nature by being paraded naked in front of the village.
Social activists believe that estimates of 100 incidents of witch-hunts in states like Chhattisgarh are merely the tip of the iceberg. Accusations of witchcraft and witch-hunts seek to disempower and victimize women. It harms their economic and social welfare in addition to putting their lives at risk. The Indian government has a duty to take action to protect women and end this archaic and immoral practice.
I hope you take my thoughts under consideration.
[Your Name Here]
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