Witch hunting an organised crime than superstition

Guwahati: Witch hunting that plagues many ethnic societies in the Northeast India in general and Assam in particular doesn’t always stem out of superstitious beliefs or practices.
Witch-hunting is some-thing that is perpetrated by some vested interests to settle score or to econo-mically exploit some hapless persons in the society.The vested interests persons often mastermind the gory episode in such a way that the entire local community get involved in the crime so that it becomes hard for the investigating agencies to pinpoint the real culprits involved.
So, the situation demands strongest possible action from the administration and local administration against perpetrators of such heinous crimes in garb of superstitions.
This was one of the key observations made by participants in a workshop organised in Dibrugarh University campus here under the aegis of Society for Socio-economic Awareness and Environ-ment Protection(SSEAEP) which has been entrusted by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India to carry out an extensive study on prevalent superstitious beliefs and practices in the North-eastern states of the
country under a programme titled ‘Learning for Cogent Living’ aimed at facilitating rational living free from superstitious practices.
Particularly, Ms Mamoni Saikia, Goalpara district (Assam) programme coordinator of Assam Mahila Samata Society, made a video presentation of some grave cases of witch hunting that were instances of blatant human rights violation. One of such cases included beating up of a women who was branded as witch, by her five sons coerced by the some villagers.
The two-day workshop was set on the roll today with an objective to elicit suggestions and opinions
from invited participants from different walks of the society and from different states of the region so that a comprehensive commu-nication package can be developed to help promote rational way of life to do away with superstitions prevalent in the society.
Inaugurating the work-shop, Prof. Dambarudhar Nath of Dibrugarh University pointed out that it was not always true that only illiterate in the society are under the influence of superstitions, but sections
of highly educated persons too are found to practise superstitions even though they find it hard to explain the logic to explain their actions.
Many of the participants observed that lack of health facilities, lack of sanitation, drinking water and illiteracy were deeply linked to superstitions providing insight to their experience.