NHRC seeks action-taken report on Assam `witch-hunting` cases

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 15:02

New Delhi: The National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) has sought a report within four weeks from
the police in Kokrajhar district of Assam on several incidents
of suspected witch-hunting there.

The rights panel has forwarded a complaint in this regard
to the Superintendent of Police of Kokrajhar and asked him to
submit an action-taken report.

The complaint from lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta
Tripathy had drawn the Commission`s attention to killing of
four women in the district since April 15 for allegedly
"practising witchcraft".

The women -- Sorak Narzary, Madani Boro, Purni Boro and
Bipula Narzary -- were hacked to death in separate incidents
in Samthaibari, Belguri and Borsabil villages. The complainant
pointed out that a couple were also killed in Habrubeel
village in the district on January 1 allegedly in the name of
witch-hunting.

Increasing incidents of witch-hunting have caused concern
in Assam with Director General of Police Shankar Baruah
recently saying that the department will join hands with State
Women`s Commission and NGOs to tackle the problem. In this
month too, two such incidents have been reported in Kokrajhar.

The practice of witch-hunting was mostly prevalent in
districts like Kamrup Rural, Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Chirang,
Baksa, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Karbi Anglong.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 175
cases of witchcraft-related murders were reported in 2008 from
various states, including Jharkhand, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh,
Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. As per a study by an
NGO, more than 2,500 women were killed in the past 15 years in
India after being accused of practising witchcraft.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 15:02
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