GUWAHATI, April 23 - Leading a crusade against the prevalence of superstitious practices in the State, activist Birubala Rabha would make a plea for strong legislation against superstitious practices and sufficient healthcare facilities among the rural and backward segments of population at a United Nations conference in Geneva. The activist’s concerns would be voiced at a global arena at a time when Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act/Bill passed by the State Assembly would complete two years of the Assembly nod, still awaiting ratification.
Rabha, a victim of witch-hunting herself, believes that awareness and legal intervention should go hand in hand, when it comes to addressing a social scourge like witch hunting, which is mostly an organised crime under the veil of superstition.
“Legal provisions are a must to work as deterrence for the organised crimes in the name of witch hunting. Moreover, women, who easily fall prey to such malpractices both as victims and a soft target of superstitious beliefs, must be sensitised in a proper way,” Rabha told The Assam Tribune.
Honoured by the State Government with the Sati Sadhani award for her relentless efforts to eradicate superstitious practices prevalent in several parts of the State, Birubala Rabha has been invited to attend a two-day Witchcraft and Human Rights Experts Workshop at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2017. The UN Independent Expert on albinism Ikponwosa Ero, Lancaster University, and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network, will co-organise the meet on September 28 and 29.
“I am happy to find an opportunity to express my concerns at the international level. I’m sure I would get to learn many things from other global leaders, which would help Mission Birubala, our organisation, in carrying forward its war against superstition,” she added.
The workshop is ground-breaking and the first of its kind at the UN or international level. It will bring together UN experts, academics and members of civil society to discuss the violence associated with such beliefs and practices and groups that are particularly vulnerable.