India Witch-killings highlight 3rd world poverty

PAN Media Release

The Pagan Awareness Network (PAN) is concerned by increasing reports of witchcraft- associated deaths in developing nations.

“India in particular is a real worry for us,” PAN President David Garland said today. “The witch-killings we are seeing there involve mobs targeting widows or the elderly, and so-called ‘witchdoctors’ carrying out human sacrifices. In both cases the problem lies in entrenched poverty, lack of education, and the status of women in society.”

Despite rapid economic development in India, a lack of health and education resources in outlying regions has meant that many villagers still live in a culture of superstition and fear of the supernatural. Women accused of practicing witchcraft are commonly paraded naked through the streets and then burnt to death. And one recent Police investigation in the central Indian state of Chattisgarh has led to the discovery of the remains of two sacrificed children and 11 arrests.

“Modern witches in the West don’t go around killing children,” Mr Garland said. “And Christians don’t go around burning witches and heretics at the stake any more. We’ve closed the book on all that. What we hope is that with better access to health and education, and increasing equality between men and women, impoverished communities in places like India and Africa can move on from such tragic circumstances.”


David Garland
PAN Inc President

PAN Inc Media Officer

The Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated Australia (PAN Inc) is a not-for-profit educational association with members Australia-wide. It has no formal ties with any religious body, but works in a proactive fashion, both within the Pagan community and as a point of contact for the public, including government and media organisations.