The Telegraph
Sunday , October 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pledge against witch hunters

Ranchi, Oct. 6: A state that has witnessed as many as 1,580 cases of witch-hunting since 2001 and where as many as 524 women have been killed after being branded as witches, awareness is the only remedy.

The unanimous observation was made at a state-level consultation on “Renewing social, political and legal commitment against witch-hunting”, held at Argoya Bhavan in Bariatu, Ranchi, today.

The programme, which continued from 10am to 3pm, was organised by an NGO, Pairvi, in collaboration with three other organisations — Vikas Bharti, FLAC and Humanity.

The speakers included chairperson of state human rights commission Narayan Roy, social welfare, women and child development minister Vimla Pradhan and chairperson of state commission for women Hemlata S. Mohan. Noted economist Ramesh Sharan, advocate Rashmi Katyayan, social activist Sanjay Basu Mallick and former officer in charge of Mahila Thana Aradhana Singh were also present.

“Though the state human rights commission is working towards eradicating witch-hunting, it is not easy without social awareness. But to create social awareness, health education, along with general education, is necessary. It is also important to divert the mind of superstitious people by providing them employment,” Roy said.

Pradhan said that besides generating awareness, she would play a role in formulating a stringent law to curb the social menace.

“I will try my best to get a stringent law formulated with the help of the chief minister. For this, I will inform him about the opinions formed at this programme.”

Sharan had a suggestion. “Awareness can be spread by introducing some chapters against superstitions in school curriculum. Besides, more stress should be laid on medical sciences,” he added.

According to Mallick, one needed to delve into the root of problem to find a solution. He also called for proper education and social awareness.