The demand for a national law was made by the Free Legal Aid Committee (FLAC) at a function organised by witchcraft affected women at Kolabira rehabilitation centre in Birbaans village in adjoining Seraikela-Kharswan district to mark the 13th anniversary of formulation of Prevention of Witchcraft Practices Act, 2001 by the Jharkhand government. The FLAC said enacting of a national law would help contain the menace largely affecting poor and innocent tribals.
FLAC Chairman Prem Chand said a national act to deal with witchcraft incidents was urgently needed as over ten crores populace in more than 15 states of the country including Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra were affected by the menace.
Witchcraft killing was continuing unabated even though several states, including Jharkhand and Bihar, have enacted a law to address the problem related to superstition, he said referring to the killing of ten persons including a five-member family in West Singhbhum in June this year.
Mass killing on the pretext of black magic was continuing even 13 years after a witchcraft prevention law was adopted by Jharkhand Government in toto from Bihar because of the indifferent approach of the government, he alleged.
The then Bihar government had enacted the witchcraft prevention law in 1999 after five members of a family were killed for allegedly practising witchcraft in Kuchai, Seraikela-Kharswan district in 1995, he said.