During the last few years the State has witnessed a steep rise in the “Dain- Bhoot” (witchcraft) system, a social evil that confirms the existence of the evil spirits. According to this belief certain women controls the spirits by performing rituals and can use them against any individual or family to bring bad omen to the person or his family or the village.
When such incidences occur, people go to some Ojha, a witchcraft practitioner to find solution to their problem, who in turn do some “Jhand –Phook” (rituals which has no scientific base) and in most of the cases blame some women, their soft targets being:
- A widow
- An old lady
- A women from poor family
- A Dalit /backward/minority/tribal women
The identified woman is then not only tortured mentally but also physically assaulted, are paraded naked in the village and shaved off her hair in public and in some cases murdered openly by the rancorous mob of people.
The main culprits behind this heinous crime are the Ojhas and Gunis who proclaim they to have the super natural powers. Such types of cases are on rise day by day and every month the newspaper carries the news of death due to witch hunting at someplace or the other.
When analyzed the actual reason of this heinous crime reveals another story. Many of the possible reasons are:
- To grab the property of widow
- To take revenge
- To get rid of the older women who are seen as a burden
- To derive power
- To have sexual exploitation of young widow or poor women
Objectives of ASHA
- To sensitize, motivate, aware and strengthen the community to ensure protection and security of women on the issue related to witch-craft and other women violence in the concerning project districts.
- To reduce the cases of witch-craft and witch hunting by enforcing the Witch craft protection act 2001 in the project concerned districts.
- To sensitize & advocate the block, district and state government to ensure proper implementation of witch craft prevention act to reduce the witch hunting in the concerned project districts.
- To rehabilitate the witch-craft victims through sustainable livelihood to make them self-reliant both socially and economically in the project concern district.
- To aware the community to fight against all social evils of the society for protecting women from witch-craft and witch hunting in the project concern districts.
Witchcraft Prevention Act 2001
Government of Jharkhand in its 17 sitting on 03rd July 2001 adopted the earlier law of Bihar witchcraft prevention Act 1999.
- Article 3: Identification of Witch
Imprisonment of 3 months or Rs. 1000/- fine or both
- Article 4: Exploitation of women in the name of witch.
Imprisonment of 6 months or Rs. 2000/- fine or both
- Article 5: Identification of women as Witch under some conspiracy.
Imprisonment of 3 months or Rs.1000/- fine or both
- Article 6: Harassment of women declared as witch by (Ojha)
Imprisonment of 1 year or Rs.2000/- or both