GUWAHATI, July 17 - Public awareness on ‘witchcraft’ in remote areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border continues to be near-absent, and the perpetrators of the crime still hold sway.
In a fresh incident that has attracted sharp reaction from various quarters, a team comprising of an anti-superstition activist, a journalist and a Press photographer were abused by miscreants when they visited the adjoining areas of Khasiapara village (Meghalaya side) to report on ‘witch-hunting practices’, on Sunday afternoon.
The professional camera of The Assam Tribune scribe along with some other items was snatched away by a self-styled leader of the village, who also threatened to lynch the team, which included Dr Natyabar Das of Mission Birubala.
The miscreants accompanied by a few others refused to return the camera despite repeated requests and instead stated that their fate will be decided in their own court (Kangaroo court).
However, the three-member team, including the journo somehow managed to escape as the mob was growing in size and reported the matter at Tikrikila Police Station in Meghalaya after travelling nearly 15 kms. Superintendent of Police, Goalpara, Amitav Sinha too responded to the situation and coordinated with his counterpart on the Meghalaya side, to rescue the team.
Later, an armed team of Meghalaya Police visited the village and recovered the camera and other items from the villagers.
Anti witch-hunting crusader Birubala Rabha also intervened and took up the matter with the authorities concerned. A team of Meghalaya and Assam Police escorted the three-member team out of the area.