GUWAHATI, Sept 22 - Two years on, the Centre and the State government continue to be on the same page vis-�-vis the proposed anti-witchcraft Bill, with the latest communication from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on �atrocities on disadvantaged population� poised to further delay the law from becoming a reality.
The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, was passed by the State Assembly in August 2015 and is still awaiting the Centre�s clearance.
Much to the dismay of those awaiting the nod from the Centre for quite a long time now, the MHA has now sought views of the State government on references of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs related to existing legislation on atrocities on the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste population.
This, for many, is �uncalled for� as it is not in concurrence with the proposed law which does not discriminate any accused or victim based on caste, creed or religion.
The Centre has now passed the buck to the State home department in the form of a communication asking the latter to clarify on certain points related to some existing provisions concerning the ST and SC people. �Failing to revert views, the matter will be shown as pending with the State government,� the MHA communication stated.
The Centre, however, is still maintaining a �mysterious� silence on the views and clarifications given by the State government more than a year back on aspects related to granting of anticipatory bail to the accused in the witch hunting cases, which till now was believed to be the only bone of contention.
The fresh issue raised by the Centre has come as another roadblock for the much-awaited legislation against witchcraft.
State home department Principal Secretary LS Changsan, when contacted by this reporter, confirmed having received the communication from the Centre stating that the State will revert to the Centre as the proposed law on witch hunting will have a sweeping effect, irrespective of caste, creed, class or religion.