Meghalaya body presses for anti-superstition law

SHILLONG: On a day when the Maharashtra government has taken a decision to promulgate an ordinance on anti-superstition and black magic in the wake of the murder of renowned rationalist NarendraDabholkar, the Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights Council (MPHRC) iterated its demand for the enactment of an anti-superstition law in the state.

The MPHRC demand has gained momentum in the backdrop of the recent lynching of three persons by a mob at Smit village near here on the allegations that the trio was practicing witchcraft.

"The government is duty bound and it is mandatory on its part to comply with its legal obligations in fostering the respect for human rights under Article 51 of the Constitution of India," said MPHRC chairperson Dino DG Dympep.

Condemning the recent mob lynching of three persons at Smit for allegedly practicing withcraft, Dympep urged the government to prevent such acts and punish and prosecute individuals who accuse people of being superstitious or witches and resort to torture and murder.

"While recognizing the severity of the problem, Meghalaya must enact a law that protects people and guarantees their right to life, right to be free from cruel and inhuman treatment and right to security," Dympep emphasized.

"The government must ensure that the practice of extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions is brought to an end," he said.

On the other hand, following Tuesday's arrest of 12 accused, including six women in

connection with the lynching of three members of a family at Smit, police said more arrests would be made based on the interrogation of the 12 accused.

Police have registered more than 9 cases of violent incidents related to alleged witchcraft in East Khasi Hills district alone so far this year, a senior police officer said.