WITCH HAUNTING: A WAY TO VICTIMIZE WOMEN
Author: Rishi Kumar Singh, I year of B.A LL.B from Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The term witch haunting is somewhat first originated Rome where nearly One Hundred and Seventy Women were killed simply by saying that they are witch but if we are talking it in reference to India it has origin from Assam. Witch haunting means killing a woman by pre-assuming that she has possessed some magical power and is influencing our society with that. It is the one of the hardest fact to be believed in modern society but data says that it is not even hard enough. Witch Haunting is related to the term witch-craft. Witch-Craft is made of two terms- Wicca and Craft which means magical evil practices of someone.
Modern Witch Haunting
When a famous Bollywood actor – Mr. Sushant Singh Rajput died in mysterious condition, the family members of Mr. Rajput defamed his girlfriend Miss Rhea Chakraborty calling her a witch and she had spelled her evil magical powers on their son. Even famous actress Miss Rekha had to face such allegations when her husband Mr. Mukesh committed suicide. Whole media called her witch. Former President Mr. Donald Trump also called the term witch more than 337 times publicly saying that he had faced witch hunting. Mr. Param Bir Singh moved Supreme Court saying that he had also faced witch haunting since he was forced for extortion of Rs. 100 crore from home minister of Maharashtra. We will see how the term evolved with the passage of time but the basic idea that it targets a specific group never changed especially women.
Victims of Witch-Haunt
Women are generally victim of witch haunt. Whenever any bad thing happen in society, it is blamed to be because of women. They are considered to be cause of all misfortune especially when she entered in new house after marriage. She is considered as a symbol of fortune and misfortune. An evil thing that happens in family is blamed on them. Death of husband, any member of family especially male, financial loss etc. are all considered to be because of women. Witch haunting is also known as Dayan Pratha is still exists in society especially in states like Assam, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Laws Against Witch Hunting
Unfortunately, we do not have any national level law to prevent witch haunting but the Indian Court uses the provisions under IPC 1860 as an alternative for the victims of witch haunting. Various sections like Section302, 307,323,354,376 is used by court as a remedy for the victims of witch haunting. These sections basically talks about murder,. hurt, Attempt to murder, raising the modesty of women and attempt to rape respectively.
But various state government have brought legislation regarding witch haunting. Bihar in 1999 was the first to bring a legislation called as “Prevention of Witch (Dayan) practices Act.” After that Jharkhand brought a legislation to immune woman from inhuman torture; the legislation was known as Anti- Witch Craft Act 2001.Chattisgarh Tonhi Pratha Bill was brought by Chhattisgarh government. In Rajasthan calling a woman a Dayan and accusing her to practice witch craft can cause you an imprisonment of 3 years and a fine up to Rs 5000 under Rajasthan Women( Prevention and Protection from Aristocracy). Various others state legislations were also passed.
Why Witch Haunting Still Continues?
There are various reasons why witch haunting is still prevent in present society. It is due to cultural, social, psychological issues which has rooted its root deep in our present society. Because of the geographical inaccessible reasons victims usually delay in going to the court and hence failed to get justice. The perfect example of this issue is the landmark case of Madhu Munda V. The State of Bihar. Also, psychological issues force people to believe that it is good to punish evil woman- which is really not so. The perfect example of this case is the landmark judgment of Tula Devi & Others V. The State of Jharkhand. In this case, the court dismissed the case because of lack of evidence. Evidence is also a cause of dismissal of cases.
Another reason for witch haunting to be prevalent in present society is lack of national legislation. India does not have any national legislation. All the victims are given justice under the various sections of IPC. So, it become difficult to impart justice to women. These are also against the Right to Life with Dignity, Fair Justice and various other natural rights. Poor implementation of laws against witch haunting is another major issue of witch haunting on rise. Various states have not yet introduced any law yet or there law are not implemented in effective manner.
Till this 21st century witch haunting is still prevalent, there are many reasons for that. Government needs to make a national legislation regarding this serious matter. Also, the witch haunting has changed its form from past to present still it exists in some form in society.