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Witch hunting: NGOs intervene to bring situation under control

At least 35 people are being monitored by locals after an 11-year-old boy claimed they were black magic practitioners.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Published: October 17, 2013 5:00:44 am

The situation in Shikarigaon,a Mising tribal village in Majuli island where 35 people have been kept under virtual house arrest after being accused of practicing black magic,remained “normal” Wednesday after anti-superstition campaigner Birubala Rabha intervened in the matter.

“Intervention made by some NGOs,including members of Mission Birubala,has eased the situation and the villagers are opening up,” Jorhat DC Vishal Vasant Solanki said. Shikarigaon is located about 70 km from Jorhat,the district headquarters. The island has a history of people being killed over black magic.

At least 35 people are being monitored by locals after an 11-year-old boy claimed they were black magic practitioners who had harmed several villagers. Rabha spent several hours in the village Tuesday holding consultations and listening to the locals,who promised the 35 people would not be harmed.

“The people were not as hostile as reported by a section of the media. Instead,they opened up and assured us that the accused persons would be ‘purified’ on the day of Lakshmi puja to absolve them of their sins,” Rabha said.

“The villagers admitted they believe in superstitions,but said they had not assaulted or kept in confinement any person identified as witchcraft practitioners,” Rabha,who has been working to eradicate witch hunting in the tribal communities of Assam, said.

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