END TO WITCH

witch image (2)

It is a harsh reality that women have been ill treated in every society for ages in India. The word has developed so much yet the mind set of people remain the same. Witch hunting is one ill practice which is so much prevalent especially in the remote parts of India particularly the North Eastern part of the nation. The practice of women being targeted as witches across the country highlights a form of gender based violence against women. Witch hunting involves the branding of women as witches. Mostly after an ojha or the witch doctor confirms that a woman is a witch. A woman is then considered to be inauspicious to the society, she becomes subject to such cruelty and torture by the people. She is subjected to various forms of torture, beatings even more than worst they are even paraded naked in the village. The mindset of the people is so backward that they believe in such superstitious practices where again a woman is a victim. The prevalence of this heinous practice is high particularly on the Western region, North eastern region

According to the INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPER, reported that a group of local youth in the Indian village of Maraytoli in the eastern state of Jharkhand dragged 53 year old Etwaria Kholkho out of her home and accused her of being a witch. They demanded she identify the other witches in the village.

The reason behind such practices is lack of proper education, ignorance among people and also the fear of not able to speak up for the right. The critical point is that the women, who are accused of witchcraft in India, will often not seek any kind of legal protection or police assistance. There are also no provisions for providing rehabilitation, relief or any form of compensation to women who are usually on the bottom layer of the Indian society and already without any proper legal recourse. If we look at national law most witch cases are dealt with sec 323 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes one year’s imprisonment and Rs 1000 fine to anyone who causes harm voluntarily.

The prevention and Protection of Witch Hunting Bill,2013 as drafted by the legal team of MRDI lead by Dr. Alok Sharma, Advocate Jyotica Kalra and Dr. Padmini Singh. It provides for more effective measures to prevent and protect the women from witch hunt practices and to eliminate their torture, oppression, humiliation and killing by the society by the trial of offences relating to witch hunt practices and providing for punishment.

However these are just the legislation that are provided but as long as the mind of the people does not change it is very difficult to bring a change. There should be a proper legal awareness among the people and to change the way of their thinking.

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