ILAM, June 14: A woman of remote Aktapkaa VDC of Ilam was severely tortured for allegedly “practicing witchcraft".
Padam Maya Yonghang, 38, was tortured by her husband Jagat Bahadur with help from a shaman from Panchthar, the police said.
According to the police, Jagat Bahadur had called shaman Faid Singh Limbu on the pretext of treating Padam Maya´s stomach ailment on May 15. However, Limbu forced Padam Maya to put her hands in a cauldron of boiling water while covering her with a quilt.
According to Lok Bahadur Thapa, a human rights activist, the incident was kept secret for a month though Padam Maya had sustained serious burn injuries.
“It became known that she was tortured only when she was taken to hospital for treatment,” said Thapa. Community health workers had referred Padam Maya to BP Koirala Institute of Health sciences (BPKIHS).
A local community health worker said the shaman and three other youths had forced Padam Maya to put her hands in the boiling water. Even when Padam Maya writhed in pain, the shaman did not let her go. “They continued the torture until she became unconscious,” the health worker said.
However, Jagat Bahadur denied the allegation of torturing his wife. Shaman Faid Singh is a distant relative of the victim and she is reluctant to file a case against him.
Police Inspector Ganesh Bastola said that the incident looks like an attempt to murder. "Even a layman would understand that she was tortured," said Bastola.
Police have taken Jagat Bahadur, who is also the chairman of local Janakalyan Secondary School, in custody for interrogation.