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Laws needed to contain witch-hunting

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 11 � Despite efforts, both at the official and non-government level, witch-hunting continues to haunt the State. The awareness programmes to stop this evil practice seem to bear no fruit as killings have been rising with majority of the rural population still in the grip of superstition.

In the backdrop of this scenario, the conscious section of the society has called for stringent laws to address the problem that has raised a question mark on whether the State has really made progress on certain fronts such as literacy and healthcare.

�It is really unfortunate that despite all the work done on the awareness front, the evil practice continues. So the need of the hour is stringent measures to punish those involved in such heinous acts. I believe that would be the only deterrent for the masses who do not want to come out from the quagmire of superstition,� said former chairperson of the Assam State Women Commission Mridula Saharia adding that ensuring access to modern healthcare facilities to people living in remote areas would to a certain extent address the problem.

It may be mentioned here that lack of medical facilities in the interior areas has been compelling people to approach the quacks for treatment and in most of the cases of witch-hunting, these quacks have been targeted by the killers.

On the other hand, Dr Kamal Kalita, Assistant Professor, Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health said that along with a law to address the issue, it was also important to adopt a long-term awareness programme conceptualised out of the box.

�The menace of witch-hunting is to be studied from a social angle. So we need an awareness programme that will involve the communities where this evil is much in practice,� said Dr Kalita pointing out that in a few instances of witch-hunting in the State, there was a delusion driving the people to kill.

Dr Kalita, stressing sensitisation of the masses in a scientific manner, said that the result of such scientific awareness programmes will come out in the next 10 to 20 years. �There is no shortcut to regular and extensive awareness programmes. Only then we can eliminate this evil practice from the State,� said Dr Kalita.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Laws needed to contain witch-hunting

GUWAHATI, Oct 11 � Despite efforts, both at the official and non-government level, witch-hunting continues to haunt the State. The awareness programmes to stop this evil practice seem to bear no fruit as killings have been rising with majority of the rural population still in the grip of superstition.

In the backdrop of this scenario, the conscious section of the society has called for stringent laws to address the problem that has raised a question mark on whether the State has really made progress on certain fronts such as literacy and healthcare.

�It is really unfortunate that despite all the work done on the awareness front, the evil practice continues. So the need of the hour is stringent measures to punish those involved in such heinous acts. I believe that would be the only deterrent for the masses who do not want to come out from the quagmire of superstition,� said former chairperson of the Assam State Women Commission Mridula Saharia adding that ensuring access to modern healthcare facilities to people living in remote areas would to a certain extent address the problem.

It may be mentioned here that lack of medical facilities in the interior areas has been compelling people to approach the quacks for treatment and in most of the cases of witch-hunting, these quacks have been targeted by the killers.

On the other hand, Dr Kamal Kalita, Assistant Professor, Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health said that along with a law to address the issue, it was also important to adopt a long-term awareness programme conceptualised out of the box.

�The menace of witch-hunting is to be studied from a social angle. So we need an awareness programme that will involve the communities where this evil is much in practice,� said Dr Kalita pointing out that in a few instances of witch-hunting in the State, there was a delusion driving the people to kill.

Dr Kalita, stressing sensitisation of the masses in a scientific manner, said that the result of such scientific awareness programmes will come out in the next 10 to 20 years. �There is no shortcut to regular and extensive awareness programmes. Only then we can eliminate this evil practice from the State,� said Dr Kalita.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)