GUWAHATI, July 21 - Rapping the government for not making public the provisions of the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015, voluntary social organisation Brothers today alleged that officials of the State�s Home & Political Department are not taking the issue seriously, despite a number of gruesome incidents of witch hunting being reported from different corners of Assam.
The Bill, which was passed in the State Legislative Assembly in August, 2015, during the tenure of Tarun Gogoi-led State government, waited close to three years for getting the nod from the President of India, that came on June 13 this year.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had referred back some of the provisions of the Bill to the State government for review. The organisations working in the field of awareness against superstition-related crimes in State have been demanding that the provisions be made public in no time, so that awareness can be generated among the masses and also the implementing agencies.
�It�s been more than a month since the Bill got the necessary consent for becoming a law. However, it is strange that no urgency is seen on the part of the State government to start the process of its implementation. Neither the social organisations are being contacted, nor the media informed about its provisions. What is more appalling is that, even top ranking police officials like superintendent of police know nothing about this new Act,� said Dibyajyoti Saikia, secretary general of Brothers while addressing the media here today.
He also demanded of the State government to make public the provisions of the Act within July 24 failing which, Brothers would take action.
Brothers, that has been leading campaigns in several remote places of Assam against violence and killings in the name of witches and other superstitious practices, is one of the prominent organisations demanding a strict law against this practice. The organisation, in consultation with anti-superstition activists of Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, had offered several suggestions during drafting of the Bill, a considerable number of which were incorporated in the Act/Bill at the time it was passed by the Assembly.
�In what we could gather from our conversations with the officials of the Assam Home & Political Department, the Bill is pending for some official work by the department concerned and there is a confusion and conflict among its top ranking officials about the new Act. A legislation, which has already waited since 2015 to become a law, should not be delayed further. Now, we are bound to question the intentions of the authorities concerned,� Saikia added.