LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A woman in northern India was stripped naked and paraded through her village on a donkey after being accused of murdering her nephew, according to a BBC News report on Monday.
The village council in Rajsamand district in Rajasthan state also ordered the 45-year-old woman's face to be blackened and head to be shaved, the BBC said.
She was accused of killing her nephew, Vardi Singh, by his wife and relatives, and found guilty by a council of elders, known as a panchayat. The councils carry no legal weight but are widely respected in rural areas.
Senior police official Shweta Dhankhad told BBC Hindi that the nephew had in fact killed himself.
"It's a shameful incident that a woman was treated so badly on orders from the village council," Dhankhad was quoted as saying.
Rajasthan's principal secretary for rural development, Shreemat Pandey, told the BBC it was "completely illegal" for the panchayat to hand down such a punishment.
Last month, an Indian female athlete from Assam was tied up, assaulted and dragged to a community hall to face a public trial by village elders after being branded a witch.
In July, a 60-year-old woman was beaten and tied to an electricity pole naked in Orissa after local people accused her of being a witch.
A United Nations official said last year that archaic practices such as lynching women accused of witchcraft, honour killings and dowry murders persisted in India because they remained socially acceptable.
(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert; Editing by Ros Russell)
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