GUWAHATI, March 12 � The State Home Department has prepared a draft Bill to prevent witch hunting and protect those subjected to atrocities and physical and mental harassment in the name of hunting witches. The draft has been prepared at the behest of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The new law would give more teeth to the law-enforcing agencies compared to the existing penal provisions to deal with the menace, stated an official press release here.
As per the new law, terming someone a witch, accusing and causing someone physical and mental harassment in the name of being a witch would be treated as a cognizable offence and punishment for the offence would be between three years in jail to life imprisonment.
The meeting on law and order held at Dispur yesterday, which was chaired by the Chief Minister, discussed the new law in details. Suggestions were also made to impose community fine, if any community is found indulging in torturing anybody in the name of witch-hunting.
Further provisions were made for the common men and other social organisations to assist investigating agencies dealing with persons accused of causing physical and mental harm in the name of witch-hunting.
The Chief Minister also directed the officials concerned to incorporate monetary compensation to the victims or next of kin of the victims facing social ostracization and any other harassment.
Women trafficking, another menace in present-day Assam, was also discussed at length in the meeting. The traffickers lure the poor in the name of providing good jobs in other States. These job seekers many a time become the victims of women trafficking. In order to deal with this problem, decisions were taken to direct the job providing agencies or their agents to register their credentials with the local police stations.
The Chief Minister has also asked the department concerned to issue guidelines for the job providing agencies and their agents to take the consent of the job seekers before sending them out. The anti-human trafficking units set up at most of the police stations were also asked to act on the erring agencies violating the guidelines.
Moreover, extensive efforts have been launched to deal with child trafficking and law enforcing agencies were sensitized to deal with it effectively.
Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla, Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister, MGVK Bhanu, Director General of Assam Police Khagen Sharma, Commissioner and Secretary Home L Sweety Changsan, along with other top officials of the State, were present at the meeting.