TURA, May 5 � Taking stock of the growing menace of Satan worshippers who have been desecrating graves and defacing walls here in the town, DC of West Garo Hills Pravin Bakshi has announced a ban on the cult.
The cult members came under the scanner about two weeks back when 16 of them were caught in the act in Matchakolgre locality here. While Satanic cults were known to exist in Nagaland and Manipur, its presence in Garo Hills has shocked the people here.
�These people have been posing a threat to the society with their open worship of Satan. They have also been destroying property for which they can be booked and the desecration of graves is something unheard of. We want to pre-empt any illegal activities and hence the ban�, said Bakshi.
The ban has been imposed in the whole of WGH district and may be followed by bans in other districts of the region. Williamnagar too has been suffering the wrath of the cult with major junctions spray painted.
�They pose a threat to the society as most of the cult members generally work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Taking these things into cognisance, we have decided to put a blanket ban on devil worship. The ban would include graffiti, T-shirts, etc., and a strict vigil is being kept�, Bakshi added. The practice is being carried out late at night generally in graveyards by young people, some of who were just 15.
Meanwhile, the NGOs have welcomed the ban saying steps to rehabilitate them should also be taken. �It is really a huge concern that so many are taking to the practice. We hope they can be integrated back into society as quickly as possible as most of them are really young�, said one NGO member.
There has been a growing concern that the diminishing influence of the Church has left youths frustrated leading them to take up Devil worship.
One NGO member pleaded that the Church be actively involved in the rehabilitation of these people so as to ensure the practice does not spread further.