By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, August 10: Assam government today tabled the witch-hunting bill in the assembly, proposing stricter punishment ranging from three years to life imprisonment.
The Assam Witch Hunting (prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015 proposes action against negligence in investigation, formation of special courts for trial of witch-hunting cases and free legal aid to victims, among other provisions.
"It will provide effective measures to prohibit witch-hunting and to elimite torture, oppression, humiliation and killing in the me of witch-craft," the bill says.
According to the bill, anyone who "identifies, calls, stigmatizes, defames or accuses either by words, signs, indications, conducts, actions or any other manner, any person as a witch" can face imprisonment ranging from three years to seven years and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
The punishment for abetting a witch-craft related suicide will be up to seven years imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said though IPC provisions have been so far applied to deal with various types of crimil offences related to the pernicious practice of witch-hunting, more stringent and specific laws are needed to curb the social malaise, as it has not shown perceptible decline in the State.
The proposed law, he said, will be an effective legislation to elimite the practice of witch-hunting.