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Anti-superstition activists to approach new President

By SANJOY RAY
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GUWAHATI, July 20 - With the country all set to get its 14th President by Thursday, anti-superstition activists awaiting nod for �The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015� for over a year now, has decided to approach the new constitutional head of the country seeking intervention, as incidents of branding women and men as �witches� continue to get reported at regular intervals from across the State.

Nearly 100 cases of �witch-hunting� were reported across Assam in the last five years or so, while the conviction rate continues to be abysmally low in the State.

Activist Birubala Rabha, who is scheduled to deliver a speech on the issue in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September, too, is miffed at the pace things are moving, and opined that the dilly-dallying on the part of the government is not helping the cause of the vulnerable population.

Rabha, who is spearheading the anti-superstition campaign in the State, told The Assam Tribune that the war against superstition needs a strict law and its effective implementation at the earliest.

Home department sources said that the Bill is currently with the human rights section of the Ministry of Home Affairs and there is no word on the approval as yet.

Convenor of the Coordination Committee against Superstition, an umbrella body of anti-superstition organisations in the State, Dr Natyabar Das, said that the committee will move the new President of the country to take necessary action once he or she takes the oath of office.

�We are drafting a letter for the new President of India seeking his/her intervention in the matter. The letter will be dispatched within the next couple of weeks,� Dr Das said.

�The ministry had sought clarifications on a few points which were clarified by the State government more than a year back. But despite all these, we are awaiting the nod as the delay has been discouraging the people working on the ground,� Dr Das added.

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Anti-superstition activists to approach new President

GUWAHATI, July 20 - With the country all set to get its 14th President by Thursday, anti-superstition activists awaiting nod for �The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015� for over a year now, has decided to approach the new constitutional head of the country seeking intervention, as incidents of branding women and men as �witches� continue to get reported at regular intervals from across the State.

Nearly 100 cases of �witch-hunting� were reported across Assam in the last five years or so, while the conviction rate continues to be abysmally low in the State.

Activist Birubala Rabha, who is scheduled to deliver a speech on the issue in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September, too, is miffed at the pace things are moving, and opined that the dilly-dallying on the part of the government is not helping the cause of the vulnerable population.

Rabha, who is spearheading the anti-superstition campaign in the State, told The Assam Tribune that the war against superstition needs a strict law and its effective implementation at the earliest.

Home department sources said that the Bill is currently with the human rights section of the Ministry of Home Affairs and there is no word on the approval as yet.

Convenor of the Coordination Committee against Superstition, an umbrella body of anti-superstition organisations in the State, Dr Natyabar Das, said that the committee will move the new President of the country to take necessary action once he or she takes the oath of office.

�We are drafting a letter for the new President of India seeking his/her intervention in the matter. The letter will be dispatched within the next couple of weeks,� Dr Das said.

�The ministry had sought clarifications on a few points which were clarified by the State government more than a year back. But despite all these, we are awaiting the nod as the delay has been discouraging the people working on the ground,� Dr Das added.