Conviction rates in witchhunting cases in assam and meghalaya are miserably low. The fact that witchhunting or witchburning has been making headlines of all local newspapers of assam for quite some time, every now and then, is not only disturbing but also alarming. Witchhunting in assam is rampant and while, in other parts of india, states like jharkhand, chhattisgarh, bihar, maharashtra and rajasthan have already criminalised the practice, the assam law is a necessary, albeit delayed, provision. Witch hunting on the rise across several indian states. Witchcraft and witchhunting have been in practice in assam for years. She has been identified as budhiyari rajput of gotong village in doomdooma. It is high time that ngos, government bodies as well as local organizations come forwarded to make people aware of such inhuman acts and jump in action right away instead of holding symbolic protests and demands. Witch hunting is now one of the social stigmas of assam. During flood the two sides of the river joining two villages sarabari and. Impact of witch crafts among the adivashi community in assam. A regressive and dangerous practice threatens freedom and progress. Assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill, 2015 has been passed by the assam state assembly that any person making any offence under the act as nonbailable, cognizable and noncompoundable to eliminate rising cases of superstition leading to murder of socalled witches.
The antiwitchhunt draft bill prepared by the assam government, which proposes punishment from three years to life imprisonment, is the strictest in the country so far. Assam assembly passes bill to end witchhunting the hindu. The lady was brutally beaten with sticks by two youth who have been identified as raju telenga and thomas suren. In fact, incidents of witch hunt in assam are immensely widespread in recent times. As per a report by the assam government, at least 93 cases of witchhunting have been reported in various police stations of assam between 2010 and 2015. Jhakaria, who is the son of gobren borgoyari of lakriguri village, had a land boundary dispute with one 50yearold som hasda alias biji, son of. On may 8, 2015, the assam state assembly unanimously passed assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill, in a bid to eliminate rising cases of superstition leading to the murder of socalled witches. Once accused of practising witchcraft, the hapless woman is either raped and banished or killed to save the village from her spells and black magic. A draft version of the list published last year had four million people excluded. An interview with archana bhattacharjee about birubala rabhas work march 21, 2015. The adivasis working in the tea estates of assam are mostly santhals, mundas and oraon kuruk who were brought from faroff areas in bihar, west bengal, odisha and jharkhand which are ruled by the customary laws, and where the village chief acts as the judiciary. This process of ethnification and the discourse of indigeneity have granted legitimacy to the inequalities that were very often embedded in traditional customs and practices. The stereotypic, mythical witch appeared as the result of an.
Two women labelled as witches were buried alive, held. Hunting down witches in northeast india india al jazeera. Abuse of women, superstition and murder collide in india. National awardwinning assamese film, ishu, starts a new. For 22 days, the 35 were kept confined to the village and subjected to a public hearing, humiliation and purification. Birubalas efforts to cull witchhunting were not without adversity.
In august 2015, the assam witchhunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill was passed, retaining the gender neutral framing of witchhunting as in earlier laws, but going beyond the other state laws by increasing the number of offences, outlining the course of action for rescue. Explore witch hunting profile at times of india for photos, videos and latest news of witch hunting. Most of the recent cases have taken place in the areas populated by the tea garden labourers, she said. The new york times video that narrates the story of jamila rabha mentions that nearly 2,000 persons have been killed in india in the last 15 years in cases of witch hunting and most of the victims were women. Witchhunting in assam is just deeprooted superstition and. Remarkably, the way, it is practiced varies from area to area within the state.
The practice of witch craft or sorcery has been there in various parts of the world since antiquity and interestingly until 1970s witch trials were legal in most of todays developed countries. Witch hunting practices of assam force one to look more critically at some traditional practices that have been fostered by ethnification. More than 2,500 people have died because failed development in villages heightens gender inequality and. While the national media clamored to satiate indias hunger for a juicy murder story with the likes of sheena bora case, the heinous practice of witchhunting stealthily sucked innocent souls, away from the media glare. It was prepared in lines with the spirit of universal declaration of human rights, crimes in witch hunting cases cause gross violation. The law will now punish those who practise witch hunting.
Indeed, the witch trials helped to shape the map of europe. Social mobilization against witchhunting in assam witchhunting is a violation of human rights particularly in the context of women in the state. How women in assam are raped and banished as witches to. Witchhunting still a normal occurence in india, one.
Everything you want to know about laws which prevent witch. The proactive action by kokrajhar district police saved the life of a witch hunting victim 32yearold, jhakaria borgoyari of lakriguri village under gossaigaon police station in kokrajhar district. Assam s debjani bora, who has won gold at the national level for her javelin throws, was targeted as a witch in 2014 in the state and assaulted, of all the places, in a community prayer hall. One womans tireless crusade against witchhunting in assam. Institutionalization of witch hunting in bodo society of.
It takes up the cases of witch hunting in assam with special reference to those of thakurbila village of goalpara district. Jul 25, 2017 after a brief gap, yet another witch hunting incident has triggered shock and anger in koktajhar where a section of local residents in a remote hamlet assaulted a person who is now undergoing treatment at a hospital. In india, witch hunting dates back hundreds of years. This law was prepared in order to reign in the rising incidents of witch hunting cases across the state. Mar 03, 2017 while not the only one, assam is one state where witch hunting cases have been taking place for years.
The practice of witch hunting is widespread in tribal communities. Even as the state boasts of making progress on the economic and other fronts, there also many cases of witch hunting and other superstitious practices. Strategising alternative media for women empowerment. Assam is the land of both tribal and nontribal communities. Witch hunting in assam is supposedly more common among the rabha, hajong, mishing, bodo and other tribal groups. Saikia has fought for an anti witch hunting act in assam since 2010. Politics, statebuilding, and witchhunting oxford handbooks. President ram nath kovinds assent to the bill against witch hunting that the assam assembly passed three years ago has rejuvenated the campaign of a. Of the 93 reported cases of witchhunting between 2010 and 2015, chargesheets were filed only in 60 cases. Torture volume 02 number 04 by torture magazine issuu. Quick police action prevents witchhunting incident in. Assam, like many other parts across the country, often witnesses deaths, injuries and miseries resulting from witch hunting, an odious crime. The research paper will find out the actual factors for the contagious witch hunting which has been prevailing as an institutionalization in bodo society.
The assam government has launched 181sakhi, a tollfree helpline number for women, legislator chandra. President has given nod to assam s anti witch hunting bill. Nov 02, 2016 its 2016, and the practice of witchhunting is still prevalent in assam. The assam state assembly on thursday unanimously passed assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill, 2015 in a bid to eliminate rising cases of superstition leading to murder. The making and hunting of witches in assam magzter. Pdf witch hunting or witch branding are the social menace, which are. Over 1,700 women killed in assam due to rape, dowry, witch hunting from 2006 to 2018. Kovind clears assam bill against witchhunt the hindu.
These practices persist in india not only due to the social sanctions given to them but also because the police do not treat these crimes equivalent to murders. Although over 450 arrests have been made, there hasnt been a single conviction. The assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection. It is one of the first organizations in the ner to combine. National awardwinning assamese film, ishu, starts a new conversation on witchhuntingbut from a childs perspective utpal borpujari on his national awardwinning film ishu, witchhunting and the unusual reverse trend where theatre holds more currency than cinema in assam. Witch hunting is more prevalent in 12 states of india which are situated in like jharkhand, bihar, haryana, west bengal, madhya pradesh, maharashtra, gujarat, orissa, chhattisgarh, assam, rajasthan and u. At a time when assam is witnessing some unfortunate incidents of lynching because of superstitions, angeekar films has embarked upon a journey to create awareness against deadly menace of witch hunting by screening its feature film aei maatite at different rural places. Birubala rabha, the crusader against witchhunting in assam who is also the leader of the ngo, told firstpost that nearly 20 cases of witch hunting has been reported over the last two years. Property disputes, land rights of women and gender conflicts are some of the other reasons. Witchhunting cases on the rise in assam guwahati news.
Debjanis case puts into question one of the biggest myths around witch hunting, that it takes place only due to superstition, ignorance and lack of education in farflung remote villages, and among poor. Witch hunting in assam capital of black magic to national shame. The incident took place on july 18 at dekadamra the villagers assembled at a public place and flogged rabiram narzary alleging witch craft. The process has also sparked criticism of witch hunts against assam s ethnic minorities. The assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill, introduced in the state assembly on monday, mandates a jail term of between three and seven years for branding any person a. Another woman victimised of witch hunting in assam. Assam passes witch hunting prohibition bill huffpost india. Aug 14, 2015 assam state legislature has passed assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill, 2015. Major reasons behind its existence with special reference to assam furzee kashyap doctoral scholar dibrugarh university, assam, india dr.
Over 1,700 women killed in assam due to rape, dowry, witch. The bodos are influential tribal social group in assam, where the witch hunting has become much tenacious last few decades. However, the bill is pending for presidents assent. The social evil of witch hunting has been a recurring problem in assam, so much so that the state assembly unanimously passed the assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill 2015, following years of sustained campaign by civil society organisations and an intervention by the gauhati high court. The classical period of witch hunts in europe and north america falls into the early modern period or about 1480 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the reformation and the thirty years war, resulting in an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 executions. Taking note of the prevalence of the inhuman and barbaric practice of witch hunting in assam and other northeast states, the gauhati high court has observed that branding of. Apr 22, 2011 with the toll in the recent spate of killings in kokrajhar district in the name of witch hunting rising to six in a span of seven days, ngos and womens groups have described the incidents as extreme form of violence and asked the government to make urgent intervention. In assam the cases relating to witch hunting are totally different from the actual connotation. An incident has come to light where two women were buried alive in naharbari, nagaon district in assam on monday night after they were declared as witches.
As my personal witness claims, the cases of south assam are slightly different from those of other areas. Oct 27, 20 on ooctober 2, an 18yearold youth and a woman visiting shikarigaon in assam s majuli island declared that 35 people living in the village were witches. As shown in witch hunt diaries, a documentary film by channel news asias investigative series undercover asia tracing this practice in assam, another side of the problem is that often a group of peoples vested interests use superstition to instigate violence. Recurring incidents of killings in the name of witch hunting have alarmingly challenged the laws and various anti witch hunting programmes. The assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection bill, 2015 is a landmark bill to curb the menace of witchhunting. Assam witch hunting prohibition, prevention and protection. Witch hunting as motive has led to 2,097 murders between 2000 and 2012363 of them in jharkhand, show national records. Though jharkhand is leading in the number of cases reported for witchhunting, 11 other states including madhya pradesh, rajasthan, andhra pradesh, gujarat, maharashtra, assam and bihar.
Jyoti prasad saikia professor dibrugarh university, assam, india abstract this study tries to explore the injustice faced by the victims of the cruel witch hunting. Aug 14, 2015 assam assembly passes bill to end witch hunting. Outsiders were barred entry, while the administration kept away. People from farflung areas would come here to learn witchcraft.
Assams antiwitch hunting bill gets presidents nod india news. Witchhunting toll now up to 6 in assam indian express. Mar 19, 2015 witch hunting is not just the result of superstition or deeprooted beliefs. However, witch hunts also helped shape administrative structures and they provoked political tensions. The practice of witchhunting in assam thakurbilla village is a case in point as the sources reveal, witch hunting is prevalent in the remote areas of kokrajhar, bongaigaon, baksa, goalpara, darrang, sonitpur, tinsukia, and dhemaji etc. The voice of debojani borah comes from the countryside of assam, a stronghold of superstitious beliefs. Two women pushed into well, buried alive two women were allegedly pushed into a well by three brothers and buried alive by covering it with mud and earth in assam. The land of black magic is now a land of bloodshed in the name of black magic, that too in the 21 st century. In 2016, india celebrated the olympic medals brought home by pv sindhu and sakshi malik. More than 500 people have been killed and 116 official cases of witch killing have been registered since 2001 in assam. It emanated in the morigaon district of assam which is now infamously known as the indian capital of black magic. Witch hunting is a horrendous superstitious practice prevalent in rural india. In another incident of witch hunting in the state, a lady was beaten to death by two youth in doomdooma.1250 820 1300 1313 52 626 263 1531 203 1325 596 1165 984 1253 1572 751 204 1343 469 579 907 785 678 422 666 1007 82 1549 136 1441 1565 128 1477 1356 1056 44 866 1056 1206 1486 852 975 405 796