‘Witchcraft practitioners’ need help

Lalitpur, February 15:

Tougher legal provisions are needed to address violence committed against a person on the charge of being a witch, legal experts said at a programme organised at the CVICT office today.

Presenting a paper on ‘Violence against a Person Termed Witch and Need for Legal Provisions, Babu Ram Regmi, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, said the Public Security Act 1970, Defamation Act 1959, Clause related to physical assault under the Criminal Code - 1963 have been addressing the grievances of people accused of practising witchcraft. “Though culprits are penalised under these legal provisions, they do not control inhuman behaviour meted out by the community against the victims and do not reduce their sufferings.”

Regmi said the present legal provisions only address the inhuman behaviours and assault meted out against the victims.

The grievances of the persons accused of practising witchcraft can also be addressed by amending the Public Security Act 1970, he said. Communities, social organisations and the authorities must make efforts to wipe out ill practices.

Justice Ishwore Khatiwada said a separate Act should be formulated to address the issue. “It is an issue related to rights and is deep-rooted in the society,” Khatiwada said, adding: “The communities and the legal fraternity should work a way out to address the issue,” he said.