Why in News
- The police in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district have arrested nine people, including three women, for killing two persons for allegedly practising witchcraft.
About witchcraft in Assam
- Witch-hunting has been an age-old social malaise in Assam, mostly reported from the western part of the State.
- Data presented in the Assembly said it claimed the lives of 107 people from 2011 to November 2019.
- In 201, the police launched Project Prahari to counsel certain communities against practising witch-hunting.
- ‘Karbi’ is an indigenous tribal community living in Assam and ‘Anglong’ is a Karbi noun for Hill(s)/Mountain(s). Literally ‘Karbi Anglong’ means Hills of Karbi people.
- The Karbis are a patrilineal society
- Clans in Karbi are exogamous, in other words, marriages between members of the same clan are not allowed because they are considered brothers and sisters among themselves.
- Arranged marriages are rarely seen in modern Karbi society.
- After marriage, neither the bride nor the groom changes their surname i.e. they retain their original surname.
- The Karbis inhabiting in hills traditionally practice jhum cultivation (Slash-and-burn cultivation) whereas those dwelling in plains earn their livelihood by engaging in agriculture and livestock rearing
- Karbi people have the highest HPI (Human Poverty Index) value of 33.52, indicating that this tribe has the highest number of people in human poverty. (Assam Human Development Report, 2003).
Fight against Witchcraft
- Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention, and Protection) Act
- Ms. Birubala Rabha has been campaigning against witch-hunting since 1996. She rescued over 50 women from being branded as witches before launching Mission Birubala
- Project Prahari in 2001, which was aimed at fighting witch-hunting by uplifting the socio-economically. The programme blended normal policing with social campaigns. Under Prahari, regular health camps are organised through qualified experts, and villagers are taught about health and hygiene and local women are being trained.