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Legal action for branding woman as �witch�

By Correspondent

BONGAIGAON, Oct 27 � A local correspondent of a Guwahati-based electronic media channel stationed at Abhayapuri in Bongaigaon district faces legal charges after allegedly branding a woman as a �witch�.

Kiron Ray (45) was assaulted by her younger brother and sister over a family dispute on October 24 evening when she came back to her home at Shivpur in Abhayapuri area from the market.

When the neighbours were trying to break up the quarrel, police reached the spot and rescued Kiron and admitted her to the Abhayapuri Community Health Centre for treatment the same evening.

A particular electronic media channel had telecast this story on October 25, filed by its Abhayapuri correspondent, alleging that the neighbours and the family members had assaulted Kiron suspecting her to be a witch.

This allegation of witch-hunt sparked an angry reaction among the people of Shivpur and local residents of the Abhayapuri area who demanded action against the media person.

The police and the local administration conducted an on-the-spot enquiry and found that it was purely a family quarrel and nobody from the neighbourhood had raised allegation against Kiron branding her a witch.

An injured Kiron lodged an FIR at Abhayapuri Police Station against her younger sister and brother on October 25 and accordingly, police registered a case (425/2014) under Section 143/447/325/342/500 of IPC against the accused.

The police on Sunday arrested Kiron�s younger sister Minu Ray in this connection, Debeswar Das, officer in-charge of Abhayapuri Police Station said.

The police has also registered a case (426/2014) against Binod Behari Nath, local correspondent of an electronic media who filed the story, under Section 109 (abetment of offence)/500 (defamation)/504 (intended insult to provoke to breach peace) of IPC read with section 66 A of Information Technology (which deals with punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service).

Kiron�s neighbour Dharmeswar Barman, a retired police personnel, said, �Kiron often quarrels with her neighbours and family members on trivial matters, but she is not a witch.�

Kiron�s family members said that after being separated from her husband, Jatin Konwar, who is a fourth grade employee in the Food Corporation of India in Guwahati, she has become a shrew.

Kiron lives with her only daughter Pallavi, 14, a student of class IX, in a single-room house on a government land just near her mother�s house at Shivpur. Her widow mother Kanon Bala Ray, 75, shares a little portion of her pension money with her eldest daughter Kiron for her needs, family members said.

Her immediate neighbour Lolita Karmakar, 28, wife of tailor Dulal Karmakar, said that she had a quarrel with Kiron and in a fit of anger she remarked Kiron as a witch before the camera of the news channel after the incident on October 24 evening. Lolita admitted to her fault on Sunday and denied her allegation against Kiron and said that due to her mischievous son Debojit, 4, Kiron often quarrels with her family.

Meanwhile, an injured Kiron, lying on hospital bed, said that there was a quarrel among her two younger sisters and three brothers seeking division of the assets and money which her mother has kept. �Neighbours did not assault me, it was my sister Minu who attacked me first,� Kiron said.

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