KOKRAJHAR, Sept 20 - Awareness programmes were recently organised in Kokrajhar district under Project Prahari of the Assam Police by the team of Mission Birubala, led by Dr (Hon) Birubala Rabha.
Project Prahari is a community development programme which works towards eradication of witch hunting.
In Kokrajhar, programmes were organised in four different vulnerable places in collaboration with the All Adivasi Students� Association of Assam (AASAA), Kokrajhar district.
The four places where the programme was held were Dakhin Dabragaon under Balajan outpost, East Maligaon under Bismuri outpost, Palashguri under Gossaigaon outpost and Joypur under Bismuri outpost, stated a press release issued by Mission Birubala.
At Dabragaon and Palashguri, brutal killings of people were taken place in the name of witch hunting in recent times. Dr Natyabir Das, the state coordinator of Mission Birubala, introduced the motive behind these programmes.
He explained Project Prahari and how it has been helpful in tackling witch hunting cases. He mentioned the Anti Witch Hunting Act. More than the Act and the punishments, what is important is the need of people becoming aware and to abstain themselves from witch hunting or getting instigated to get involved in killing someone in the name of witch hunting, he said.
Birubala Rabha narrated about her effort and struggle against superstition and witch hunting. She expressed that due to lack of education and proper healthcare facilities, people tend to be ignorant. Rabha urged people to get rid of irrational belief and strongly claimed that there is no witch in this world, then why there should be witch hunting.
She further stated as many as 202 cases have been registered in the name of witch hunting in Assam in recent times of which 193 persons were killed, 105 injured and 931 have been arrested so far. Rabha further revealed that in Kokrajhar district alone, as many as 56 cases have been registered and 61 innocent people were killed since 2001. Till date, police arrested 105 persons in this connection, she added.
Usha Rabha, president of Mission Birubala, hailed the role of women through a song. Kokrajhar SP Rajen Singh expressed how lack of education and proper healthcare facilities have resulted in illogical beliefs. He mentioned that there is a shortage of 101 doctors in Kokrajhar district.
Enmity which results out of land dispute is also another factor of witch hunting, he remarked. AASAA adviser Satyanath Tudu advised people to abstain themselves from superstition. He urged people to send their children to schools.
Nayanjyoti Das, faculty of English Department, Janata College, spoke about the strict laws against witch hunting. Leaflets both in Assamese and Bodo languages were distributed among the audience.
Mrityu Upatyaka, a documentary movie on witch hunting directed by Dipak Barua, was screened for the audience which was an eye opener. A streetplay performed by drama group Manchalengka, Goalpara was appreciated by the crowd, also added the release.
The play revolved around people�s ignorance regarding diseases and how the bejs take advantage of this, thereby branding some weak people witches to gratify their own personal grudges. The team of Mission Birubala which worked in this exclusive mission included one victim of witch hunting.