How often does India act like 1692 Virginia?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11905507/

Seems like the residents had no problem carrying the beheaded heads to the police station. The article doesn’t mention if they were arrested or not. So I’m just curious, how often does this happen in this country, and do things like this get prosecuted in India?

I’ve heard of things like women getting killed for being the victim of rape and such, but this just adds to the WTF factor.

India’s a weird place - and I should know, I live there. Unfortunately, I’d have to say that the answer to your question would have to be that it’s not unknown for this sort of thing to happen, and prosecution is doubtful at best. There’s certainly a pretty huge WTF factor for me as well, reading that, although I do come across gruesome stories along those lines from time to time. Not every day, mind you, but certainly often enough to be unsurprised. I am infuriated and deeply saddened, but not surprised.

Rural India is still a place where the caste system has tremendous force; it’s really a throwback to a far more primitive era. I have to go teach a maths class at the moment, so I’ll get back into this later, if you’re interested.

And for the record, I don’t wish to hate on India. I realize every country has their fair share of weirdness. But the following is what is kinda of worry some…

The article was pretty vauge on whether prosecution is likely or not. But assuming its not, is it because local law enforcement won’t do anything? And if so, what about the nations government? I have little understanding of how India would handle this on a local, and national level.

Well, having done a little research, it appears that 6 people have been arrested for the killings. The problem in cases like this (luckily not in this case) is that local law enforcement has been known to be sympathetic towards people who, for example, accuse others of witchcraft - which is not all that surprising, considering that the policemen also come from the same social and cultural background. Justice in India can be torturously slow, and cases like this are often lost to the public eye soon after they cease to be front-page news.

To answer your question about the government involvement; India has quite a well-defined federal structure, with several topics being the exclusive purview of the state, rather than the national, government. Law and order is one of these, so the Central (national) goverment has no authority to intervene in this matter. The state police do seem to have taken some action; the legal system in India is based largely on the old colonial British system, so either they have to be charged with the murder, and the case sent to trial, or the case will have to be dropped. In such a blatant case I would expect a great deal of media pressure, but it could well be several years before the case even comes to trial, let alone a sentence being passed, by which time of course it will have completely fallen off the public radar.

And I realise that you’re not hating on India; as you said, every country has its fair share of weirdos - and it would be silly not to acknowledge them when they are seen. :slight_smile:

A quick note on frequency: I got this quote off this news site, which contains this rather ghastly quote:

Keep in mind that Assam is just one quite small state in the north-west of India (admittedly the poorest, worst educated and most violent part of the country) - if that’s extrapolated, the numbers are pretty large.

Dervorin has answered this better than I could have.

There are still parts of India that are extremely rural, and totally backward. Incidents such as these are unlikely to occur in the bigger cities, but then India has a much larger rural population than an urban population.

India is such a diverse country that it is difficult to precisely define its culture or its people. Each part of India is very different from the other, and none of them individually represent India sufficiently, but together they are one country.

It is as shocking for the rest of India, as it is for the rest of the world, to hear of such atrocities.

[nitpick on the thread title]The Salem witch trials were in 1692 Massachusetts, not 1692 Virginia.[/nitpick on the thread title]

Sorry, thanks for clarifying.

Er… I meant north-east, of course. Here’s to posting when sleepy! :wally

Even in 1692 Massachusetts, I have to note that mob action didn’t kill any witches, nobody was beheaded, and the trials were conducted in strict decorum and in accordance with the law. In a way, that’s scarier. The Massachusetts courts realized it a year later, and issued a public apology.

You want me to change the title again? :slight_smile:

This is a really good point. I always like to say India’s got one foot in the First World and one still in the Third World. Out of the developing countries, India’s got some great promise, providing they can educate better, fix the government*, and control the population. Still, it does make me sad that such things still happen.

I don’t know anything about the Indian government. All I know is what I hear from my family over there, who claim it is very corrupt.

Did you not SEE the OJ or Michael Jackson trials?

I think even in this country, we can find our fair share of weirdness.

The irony is that Assam is a state known for the practice of tantric yoga that flourishes there. I feel that Tantrism and Witchcraft, as I have come to know them, share very close similarities. I suspect that outbreaks of Witch-phobic hysteria in various countries have more issues driving them than paranoia of the occult. I would look for other sociological stresses that drive people to violence but are masked by the cry of witchcraft. Maybe class struggle that for some reason does not express itself openly causes pent-up rage that can take the form of anti-Witch hysteria. I once met a gentleman from the Navajo reservation who complained of these Witch-phobic attitudes paralyzing his society. I wonder what is the full explanation behind the social problems that drive people to this. I don’t think the occult is actually the main issue, but a front used for people to let out rage that isn’t expressed directly.