GUWAHATI, May 11 � The day-long convention against witch-hunting organized by the Coordination Committee Against Superstition, Assam on May 9 at the Lakshmiram Baruah Sadan here, while welcoming the steps taken by the State Government for seeking views from the public on the draft Bill to curb the menace of witch-hunting in Assam, strongly pleaded for expansion of the scope of the proposed legislation. The convention expressed the opinion that the Bill should be renamed as �Prevention of and Protection from Witch Hunting and Magic Remedies Bill, 2015� to firmly deal with such superstitions and other social evils, said a press release received here today.
The convention was jointly organized by the Assam Science Society, Ellora Vigyan Mancha, Mission Birubala, Gyan-Vigyan Samity, NESPYM, Jukti Bikash Samity, All Bodo Students� Union, Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association and others under the common banner of Coordination Committee Against Superstition, Assam. The convention started with condolence resolutions on the victims of witch-hunting and also condoled the passing away of noted historian and social scientist Dr Amalendu Guha and paid homage to the distinguished scholar.
The well-attended convention was conducted by a presidium comprising Dr Chandra Mohan Sarma, Indibor Deuri, Dr Abani Kumar Bhagawati and Lawrence Islary. Anti-witch hunting crusader Birubala Rabha inaugurated the convention, while convenor Dr Natyabir Das explained the objectives. Birubala wanted immediate legislative steps to introduce a stringent law against witch hunting.
Addressing the convention, noted scientist and writer Dr Dinesh Goswami appreciated the joint initiative of the participating organisations and advocated for a legislation not only against witch-hunting but against superstition to cover other superstitious social evils. Eminent litterateur Nirupama Borgohain, Dr Jahnabi Gogoi of Dibrugarh University, social scientist and writer Indibor Deuri, Abani Bhagawati of Assam Science Society, NESPYM chairman Dr Chiranjeeb Kakoty and others also delivered speeches in support of the resolution placed by joint convenor Isfaqur Rahman on behalf of the coordination committee.
The resolution pinpointed various aspects of the menacing problem and stressed the need for a comprehensive plan and holistic approach, including a tough legislation, to deal with the situation. It also appealed to the media, both print and electronic, to play a positive role in highlighting the scientific temperament and in exposing the heinous roles played by vested interests by exploiting the superstitious beliefs prevalent among the common people.
The presence and active participation of organisations like ABSU, ATTSA, All Rabha Students� Union etc., added significance to the crusade against witch-hunting since the menace assumed dangerous proportions among the tribal and backward communities.
The convention decided to exchange views and seek opinions from cross sections of people, including social scientists, legal experts, activists etc., on the draft Bill and after proper scrutiny and compilation, the same will be submitted to the State Government before June 7 next for inclusion and for strengthening the proposed legislation.
The coordination committee will also join hands with other like-minded organisations to intensify the awareness campaign against superstition. The convention also formulated a demand charter and chalked out a future course of action. On behalf of the presidium, noted scientist Dr Chandra Mohan Sarma made a fervent appeal to work together for spreading scientific temperament among the people and to fight all forms of superstition and blind beliefs including beliefs in the existence of �witches�.