GUWAHATI, July 21: Secretary General of ‘Brothers’, a social organization of the State, Dibyajyoti Saikia lauded the President of India for approving the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015.
Talking to the reporters in Guwahati on Saturday, Saikia expressed deep satisfaction over the development and said, “Our long-standing demand has been converted to an Act after series memorandums, demonstrations, and discussions over the last couple of years.”
Notably, the Bill was approved by President Ram Nath Kovind on June 13 almost three years after it was passed by the State Assembly. The Act, aimed at eliminating the superstition from society, imposes a punishment up to seven years and a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh. Moreover, the Act will make any offences under the Act as non-bailable, cognizable and non-compoundable.
Considering the rigorous movement raised by certain organizations of the State like Brothers pressing the State Government to tackle the menace like witch hunting, the State Assembly had unanimously passed a Bill on August 13, 2015 which imposes imprisonment of up to seven years, along with a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh, for branding someone as a witch. The Act would be imposed, along with Section 302 of the IPC, if someone is branded as witch and killed. The punishment for leading a person to commit suicide after intimidating, stigmatizing, defaming a person may be extended to life imprisonment, along with Rs. 5 lakh fine.
Stating that after converting the Bill into an Act, the responsibility to educate the people on this Act rests with the State Government, Saikia said, “Even after being approved by the President a month ago, why the State government has enveloped the President’s nod is a mystery. Nevertheless, we will continue working for the victims, besides educating the people across the State against witch hinting,” he added.