A total of 107 people have been killed in Assam since 2011 due to witch-hunting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary informed the state Assembly on Saturday. Of the 107, eighty-four people died during the five years of the Congress government and twenty-three people died since May, 2016 when the BJP was elected to power in the state.
“Between 2011 and May 2016, before the BJP-led government came to power in the state, around 84 people were killed in witch-hunting incidents. From June 2016 till October this year, at least 23 more were killed in similar incidents,” Patowary said in reply to a question from Congress MLA Nandita Das.
“Lower Assam’s Kokrajhar district registered the highest number of witch-hunting cases, with 22 people killed in such incidents, from 2011 to October this year. Neighboring Chirang registered the second-highest (19) witch-hunting cases during the same period,” said an official report. The report also said that cases of witch-hunting were recorded in at least 21 districts of the state, however, the maximum number of cases were registered in Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD).
The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015 was notified by the state government in October, last year and numerous steps are being undertaken to spread awareness about the issue in the state, Patowary said. Of the 23 killed during the BJP regime, 12 were men and 11 of them were women.