Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recently announced that the state government is contemplating to enact a law to put an end to the practice of witchcraft. (Agencies)
"There has been a noticeable rise in cases where people are getting killed after being suspected of practicing witchcraft in Kokrajhar and Jorhat districts of Assam," he said.
The Chief Minister went on to say that apart from enacting a new law to eradicate the practice, the government would launch an awareness campaign.
In the past one decade, Assam has witnessed nearly 100 killings as a result of various social evils practised by people inspired by superstition.
According to the police records, 21 cases of witch-hunting were registered in 2006, followed by 7 cases in 2007, 10 cases in 2008, 4 cases in 2009, 11 cases in 2010, 29 cases in 2011 and 14 cases in 2012 across Assam.
Social activists in the state have welcomed the proposed initiative, but pointed out that if it is not given more teeth, it would meet the same fate like Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, where a similar legislation exists.
In those states, the law has failed to act as a deterrent since the provision of punishment enshrined in the law is mild. At most, the punishment amounts to three months in jail and a penalty of Rs 1,000.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recently announced that the state government is contemplating to enact a law to put an end to the practice of witchcraft.