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August 6th, 2017

From hysteria to lynching

And suddenly, what seemed to be a slightly mad story about women waking up to find their hair chopped off, has taken a tragic turn.  A 62 year old woman in Uttar Pradesh state was beaten to death by villagers who claimed she was a witch and responsible for cutting off hair.

And just like that, the farcical element immediately disappears and the tragic underbelly of ignorance and violence and the tendency to mob violence that exist in India, are brought to the fore.

Here’s the link to a sad story of ignorance and superstition.

And then 2 days ago, another woman narrowly escaped the same fate, thanks to the police.  The bland statement in the article – “assuming her to be a witch, as she behaved in an awkward way” – makes one fear for anyone else perceived to be suspicious by a bunch of superstitious villagers.

And even though there is this disturbing factor of mob violence surfacing, one still tries to make light of the increasing number of cases of hair being chopped off – though it is very weird, all the same.

“Oh come on”, you say to yourself, “this is just some crazy copy-cat hysteria thing”.

But with superstition having such a stranglehold on so many villages and communities here in India, who knows where all this will end.

I was intrigued by the latest police theory on who might be behind all this, and I quote the Times of India:

“Police suspect that the miscreants could be a part of (sic) religious group trying to create panic and instil fear with a plan to come up with a solution later.”

Despite the deaths, there still remains a slightly mad, comic side to this story – namely women sleeping in helmets “to deny scissor-happy demons access to their hair.”#onlyinIndia

2 comments to From hysteria to lynching

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