BHRC summons govt officials on witch-hunt issue
Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC) on Wednesday directed DGP and the principal secretary of Social Welfare Department (SWD) to depute their senior officials to appear before it on March 20 with action taken report on witchcraft and witch-hunt related incidents.
Patna: Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC) on Wednesday directed DGP and the principal secretary of Social Welfare Department (SWD) to depute their senior officials to appear before it on March 20 with action taken report on witchcraft and witch-hunt related incidents.
"Witchcraft and witch-hunt result in serious violation of human rights. According to 2012 data, Bihar with 13 witchcraft related deaths ranks fourth in the country.
"We took suo motu cognisance of the issue in August last year and asked the DGP to get a study conducted on it, and to send us a report by November 30, 2014. But we are yet to hear about it," BHRC Member Neelmani said.
The BHRC had asked the DGP to find the districts and areas prone to witch-hunt related violence, status of criminal cases instituted in such instances over the last 10 years, percentage of charge-sheets or convictions, whether witch- hunters object was to rob the women of her property, modesty, or was they any fallout of village politics and other possible reasons.
"We had also asked the DGP whether the existing law is effective enough or it needs to be more stringent, and inquired about agencies - government and non-government - with which the police would like to associate with," Neelmani said.
He added that the SWD Principal Secretary was asked to respond about rehabilitation and compensation schemes for the victims of witchcraft or witch-hunt related violence, but no reply came from him as well.
"The issue is a serious one and we have noticed that no data on it has been compiled properly since 2012. Bihar was the first state to enact a law on it in 1999, known as Prevention of Witchcraft (Dayeen) Practices Act, but we also need to see that action is taken on the ground," the BHRC member said.