Witchcraft: Tripura acts tough to stop tribals’ killings

Agartala, April 29 (IANS) The Tripura government has taken tough legal action and is sensitising people to stop killing of tribals, mostly women, in the state for allegedly practising sorcery and witchcraft, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said here Monday.

“In the recent past, four tribal women were killed and two others critically injured on suspicions that they practised sorcery and witchcraft,” Sarkar told the assembly in reply to questions from legislators.

Sarkar, who holds the home portfolio, said: “We have asked the administration, including police, to be more proactive and tough and take quick and appropriate action against those involved in killing innocent tribal men and women.”

Many people, mostly women, are killed every year in the northeastern states after being accused of practising sorcery and witchcraft, mostly in tribal-dominated areas of western and northern Assam and Tripura.

Many tribal communities practise indigenous faiths and resort to such rituals in treating ailments in their communities.

Cutting across party lines, both the ruling CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and the opposition Congress members expressed concern over the killings of tribals for allegedly practicing sorcery and withcraft.

Opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath said that many such cases were not registered with the police as the tribals are not so familiar with the system.

“Most culprits involved in these killings have been arrested and the administration has been asked to remain alert to prevent such incidents,” Sarkar said. He added that an awareness campaign has been intensified to stop such inhuman and social evil acts.

According to the chief minister, the killings were driven by superstitious beliefs.

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