NHRC seeks action-taken report on Assam 'witch-hunting' cases
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
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
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.