Assam is afflicted with a chronic societal disease called witch-hunting. The Sentinel has been publishing all the news regarding witch-hunting from every nook and corner of Assam and has declared a war against this malpractice which bedevils the State, and for this noble cause the whole Sentinel family should be congratulated! The State government has initiated The Prevention and Protection from Witch Hunting Bill, 2015, but experienced social scientists and social workers, men of letters and wisdom, religious leaders, the administrators and the police are yet to be consulted on the minutes of the proposed Bill. Without proper discussion on the crucial social prejudice, no government will be able to the eradicate centuries-old irksome serious social problem of witch-hunting. Proper education and prolonged propaganda on the part of the government and massive change in mindset among our educated and as well as illiterate people will elimite unnecessary and dangerous practice of following unscientific, illogical and lethal collective prejudices. We have to stop deadly prejudices like witch-hunting and it is high time. Some stringent laws will no doubt create panic among perpetrators of the said malpractice, but without mass involvement in the problem, no one can abolish the atrocious crime linked with killing, torturing women in the me of witch-hunting. In maximum cases, lonely women are tortured and killed in the me of witch hunting to stch their wealth and grab their land or house illegally and forcefully with threats to their lives. Some miscreants burn them alive in rural areas, some beat them to death. So-called witches live a life under continuous threat from such miscreants. These so-called witches’ behaviour appear to be curious because they all suffer from mental diseases and so behave in a curious way and talk superficial words linking tantra-mantra or like that; but actually they do so under social pressure and illness and loneliness. They desperately want to seek recognition from society through strange behaviours because society ignores and neglects them and insults them in every step of life. Doctors, teachers and social-workers should chalk out these problems and diagnose the actual reason behind illogical behaviours of these wretched women and should cure them with counseling and medication and side by side the police should be informed to rehabilitate these destitute women. Superstitions have been ruling our State very extensively and thereby we are worshipping evil, forgetting words and lives of great men of Assam. Every educated and emancipated citizen should join voluntarily the forces which want to root out superstitions like witch-hunting form the State.
Ashim Kumar Chakraborty,