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Now, 7-year jail term, Rs 5 lakh fine for branding anyone a witch in Assam

According to government data, between 2010 and 2015, as many as 77 people were killed in the state after being labelled a witch.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2018 18:17 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Witch-hunting in Assam,Anti-witch hunting law,Assam
The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill is now an act which makes witch-hunting a cognisable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offence.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In Assam, branding someone a witch will now attract a seven-year jail term. Three years after it was passed by the state assembly in 2015, the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill is now an Act. A gazette notification to this effect was issued by the state government following the nod by President Ramnath Kovind on July 13.

“Yes, it is finally a law now,” said LS Changsan, principal secretary, home and political department.

The bill was introduced in 2015 by the then Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government to rein in cases of witch hunting in the state.

As per the strict provisions of the new law, identifying and calling a person a witch will attract a jail term of up to seven years and up to Rs 5 lakh in fine. The accused will be prosecuted under section 302 of the IPC in case of a murder. Brought in after a 2013 judgment by the Gauhati High Court, the law makes witch-hunting a cognisable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offence. The victim, meanwhile, is entitled to compensation by the government.

According to government data, between 2010 and 2015, as many as 77 people were killed in the state after being labelled a witch.

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 18:17 IST