GUWAHATI, Aug 13 - As passage of the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015 in the State Assembly today empowered the State to tackle this menace, social activist Dibyajyoti Saikia said the Act should be implemented without further delay.
Thanking the State government for taking up stringent measures against the propagators of superstition-related violence, Saikia, addressing the media here, said that the Act would go a long way in preventing witch hunting and similar pernicious crimes.
“The Act is the result of our six-year long struggle for a proper legislation against superstition. The prevailing laws were failing miserably to prevent witch hunting. What is shocking is that the perpetrators of this offence, both men and women from any age group, do not consider it as a crime at all,” added Saikia.
Demanding implementation of the Act within three months, he said that the State government must expedite the other necessary formalities to implement the Act on the ground. “Even if the President’s approval is required for the Act, the social activists of the State would approach the President’s office to accelerate the process as already it has been too late,” he said.
However, suggesting that no specific mention of action against self-proclaimed gods and goddesses and bez, tantric, oja etc., would stand as a roadblock in proper implementation of the Act, the social activist questioned the role of all the political parties in this regard. “It is strange that no political party raised this issue, which has been making headlines in the media,” he added.
Social organisation Brothers, headed by Saikia, will launch a ‘Jana Jagriti’ campaign all over the State, especially in rural pockets to make people aware about this law and also against superstition. The organisation also welcomed the State government’s decision to include anti-superstition lessons in academic textbooks, after implementation of the law.
The decision to protect the organisations and individuals working against superstition was also hailed.
“We have the personal experience of dealing with such issues, and in the absence of a proper law it was very difficult to handle the irate mob, which thought witch hunting was not a crime. Most of such cases are a conspiracy, hatched by the relatives of the affected persons and supported by a furious mob. Women are the most affected victims of witch hunting,” added Saikia, who assured that he would follow up the Act after implementation so that it does not become another piece of legislation that exists only on paper.