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Witch hunts persist as a horrifying, deadly reality in pockets of rural India

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In 2017, an accusation of witchcraft upended the life of Anaben Pawar, an elderly tribal woman living in a rural village in the Indian state of Gujarat. In Testimony of Ana, Pawar recalls how, following the accusation, villagers paid a witch hunter to perform a brutal ‘ritual’ that left her badly injured and deeply traumatised. Without the resources to flee and with little help from the local police, she and her family continue to live in a perpetual state of anger and fear. The Indian-born, US-based filmmaker Sachin Dheeraj offers both powerful storytelling and vital reporting with his work. Through Pawar’s haunting, courageous words, the film spotlights how a volatile combination of poverty, superstition and deeply engrained sexism allows these witch hunts – responsible for more than 1,500 deaths between 2010 and 2021 – to persist in the country.

Director: Sachin Dheeraj

Producer: Janani Vijayanathan

Website: Kinostreet

25 January 2024
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