GUWAHATI, Oct 6 – Several NGOs have made a public appeal to condemn witch hunting and take a stance against the social evil after another incident of witch hunting was reported from Balagaon Baspara village of Titaguri block in Kokrajhar district.
According to reports, nine members of a family, including five women have fled from home following an allegation centering on a village land dispute 10 days ago. They are believed to have taken refuge in a rented house at Kokrajhar itself.
The male head of the family, according to the NGOs, is also being branded as a Daina (witch) by the perpetrators and the entire family is under serious threat. Currently, the family is bereft of income, and living in a precarious situation with children being confined to the house.
The NGOs, which include North East Network, Assam Mahila Samata Society, Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samiti, Sadou Asom Pragatisheel Nari Sanstha, Women in Governance (WinG) and NEW Net, requested the public as well as concerned authorities to support their appeal for the greater good of our society:
The appeal demanded that witch hunting be recognized as a shameful act and a gross violation of an individual’s right to a life of dignity and security, to recognize women as a risk group and most vulnerable in witch hunting - which also encourages migration and displacement and finally into trafficking and sexual abuse.
The NGOs mentioned the need to bring up a State policy to combat the discriminatory and harmful practice of witch hunting and associated violence against women;
Further, the NGO sought immediate rescue of all the family members and providing necessary protection and social reintegration.