GUWAHATI, May 1 – Concerned at the recent spurt in the killing of women in the name of witch hunting, the Assam State Commission for Women has stressed the need for a continuous concerted effort to eliminate this scourge from the society.
The Commission is also going to recommend to the Government of Assam to enact a legislation to address the menace.
Though this bane of civilised society has been highlighted and much has been discussed on the ways to weed out this practice, yet nothing tangible has been achieved as of date.
Chairperson of the Commission, Mridula Saharia while talking to The Assam Tribune said that this problem cannot be solved through the efforts of a single party alone. "What we need at this hour is combined effort of the official agency, non government organisations and conscious citizens," added Saharia pointing out that lack of development was one of the major factors behind the prevalence of this practice apart from other reasons like land inheritance, poor health care facilities and superstition.
It needs to be mentioned here that all cases of witch hunting in the State including the recent ones from Kokrajhar had occurred in interior areas with little or no sign of development. Saharia mentioned that the first step for the official agency should be to undertake various development activities in the interior areas where women are vulnerable to abuse.
“Improving the communication network and setting up schools should be a priority with the Government to stop this practice which has exposed women to all forms of danger including sexual harassment and trafficking,” observed Saharia.
The Commission has already held a meeting of different parties on the issue of witch hunting and it has scheduled another meeting on May 7.
“We have made several recommendations to the authorities concerned on the issue of witch hunting including a suggestion to introduce the subject at the primary level,” said Saharia.
Saharia emphasised the need for a whole hearted approach to address the situation.