NHRC seeks report on Assam ‘witch-hunting’ incidents

New Delhi, May 18 (AGENCIES): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report within four weeks from the police in Kokrajhar district of Assam on several incidents of suspected witch-hunting there.  The rights panel has forwarded a complaint in this regard to the Superintendent of Police of Kokrajhar and asked him to submit an action-taken report.
The complaint from lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy had drawn the Commission's attention to killing of four women in the district since April 15 for allegedly "practising witchcraft".  The women -- Sorak Narzary, Madani Boro, Purni Boro and Bipula Narzary -- were hacked to death in separate incidents in Samthaibari, Belguri and Borsabil villages. The complainant pointed out that a couple were also killed in Habrubeel village in the district on January 1 allegedly in the name of witch-hunting.
Increasing incidents of witch-hunting have caused concern in Assam with Director General of Police Shankar Baruah recently saying that the department will join hands with State Women's Commission and NGOs to tackle the problem. In this month too, two such incidents have been reported in Kokrajhar.
The practice of witch-hunting was mostly prevalent in districts like Kamrup Rural, Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Karbi Anglong.