Witch Hunting In India

    Witch Hunting In India


    According to oxford dictionary, Witch Hunt’ refers to a campaign directed against a person or group holding views considered unorthodox or a threat to society. Cases of witch-hunting are prevalent in many parts of India. It originated in the Morigaon district of Assam also known as ‘The Indian is the Capital of black magic’. It is most prevalent in rural areas and states like Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

    In most cases elderly women, widows are branded as witches because of their physical features. Even men have also been accused of having supernatural powers due to which they also suffer the consequences. The family and children of the woman who is branded as a witch also suffer as they are usually socially outcasted and are forced to leave the village or in worse cases killed.


    National Crime Record Bureau data revealed that-

    In India, 2097 murders were committed with the motive of Witch-Hunting between 2000-2012.

    In Jharkhand, the anti-witch hunting law was passed in 2001. But in 2015, 5 women were brutally murdered after being attacked by a mob on the accusation of witchcraft. In Orissa, 99 cases of witch-hunting were reported in 2017, 83 in 2016, and 58 in 2015. In Assam, 114 women and 79 men were branded as witches and thereafter killed and 202 such cases have been registered between 2001-2017.


    1. Lack of awareness- There is a lack of knowledge and awareness in people due to which they don’t understand the occurrence of any bad event and always blame women for the same.
    2. Superstitious Beliefs- Even in this modern era, there are people who still believe in superstitious things that they can harm people or their work. They believe that witches can influence a person’s soul.


    1. Bihar was the first state in India to pass a law against Witch-Hunting in the year 1999 and was named the “Prevention of Witch (Dayan) Practices Act”. A person who identifies a woman as a witch can be imprisoned for 3 months and /or fined Rs. 1,000, and a person who causes a woman physical or mental torture by naming her a witch can be imprisoned for 6 months and /or fined Rs.2,000
    2. Jharkhand also followed the Bihar Model established the “Anti-Witchcraft Act” in the year 2001, to protect Women from inhuman treatment as well to provide victims legal recourse to abuse. Sections 3-6 talked about the punishment granted if anyone accuses someone of being a witch, tries to cure the witch, and any damages caused to them whereas section 7 of this Act talked about the procedure for trial.
    3. Chhattisgarh government enacted the “Chhattisgarh Tonhi Pratadna Nivaran Act, 2005”, to protect the people from atrocities in the name of Witch-Hunt. The said Act provides imprisonment for three years term for a person who accuses a woman of being a ‘Tonhi’ or ‘Dayan’ and five years’ imprisonment to anyone who causes physical harm to such woman.
    4. Odisha government enacted the Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Act, 2013. This Act empowers the government to organise various awareness programs against superstition and witch-hunting to make the law enforcement agencies.
    5. Rajasthan govt. enacted “The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act, 2015” which provides for adequate measures to tackle the threat of witch-hunting and to also prevent the practice of witchcraft in the state.
    6. The state of Assam got the Presidential affirmation to the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention, and Protection) Bill, 2015. The Act, 2015 classified the practice as a non-bailable, non-cognizable, and non-compoundable offense while laying down up to seven-year imprisonment and a fine up to 5 lakhs for identifying any person as a witch.


    1. People need to make themselves aware and do campaigns or rallies to make people aware for the same to remove such kind of practices from the country.
    2. Stringent laws must be made to punish such people who are giving rise to such evil practices.
    3. There is a need of awareness drive including social activists, women leaders, or social workers to eradicate this problem by educating people.
    4. Every state, even districts should work upon to find out the ways to remove this problem from their areas.
    5. The Integrated Child Development Services and Integrated Child Protection Scheme structure should be used to address cases related to violence during witch-hunts.
    6. Crimes like witch hunting violates our basic fundamental rights provided in article 14,15 and 21 of our Indian Constitution. Thus, each and every person should come forward and raise their voice against this violence as it is a severe threat to our society.


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