Two Assam women branded as ‘witches’, assaulted by tea garden workers

As their assailants have threatened to kill them if they return to the garden, the victims, Maloti Bhumij and Rajmoni Bhumij, were taking shelter at a police station. 

Published: 04th August 2019 11:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2019 11:33 PM   |  A+A-

assault

For representational purpose

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Two women in Assam were brutally beaten up by tea garden workers who branded the duo as witches.

As their assailants have threatened to kill them if they return to the garden, the victims, Maloti Bhumij and Rajmoni Bhumij, were taking shelter at a police station.

The incident took place on Friday evening at Hooloonguri Tea Estate in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district.

The police registered a case under Sections 448, 352, 506 and 120b of IPC against three women who allegedly instigated a mob to perpetrate the attack. The police also slapped a relevant Section of Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015.

According to locals, the victims in their fifties had gone somewhere and they came under the attack when they were on their way back home at Tekela Line of the tea garden. On seeing them disorganized with mud all over their clothes which were also torn, the assailants suspected them to be witches.

When words spread in the garden about the movement of two witches, dozens of people thronged the area leading to the assault. Later, the police rescued them from the spot.

Witch-hunting, a social malaise, claims several lives in Assam’s tea belt and tribal areas every year. The incidents have not stopped despite awareness campaigns by the state government and some NGOs.

ALSO READ | Three forced to consume human excreta over witchcraft suspicion in Jharkhand

The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015 views witch-hunting as a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offence. Passed in 2015, the Act has provisions of jail term up to life imprisonment.

Back in 2001, Assam’s Director General of Police, Kuladhar Saikia, had conceived “Project Prahari”, an initiative to fight witch-hunting. He was then serving as a DIG in Kokrajhar, a district where incidents of witch-hunting are common.

Project Prahari tried to bring in different stakeholders together to give a common platform to fight the menace. This was the first coordinated approach to prevent witch-hunting in Assam. 

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp