Seminar on the protection of women from witch hunting held in Jagatsinghpur

Report by Kahnu Nanda, Jagatsinghpur: The state commission for Women and National Commission for Women in collaboration with the district social welfare department organized a seminar cum awareness drive on the protection of women from witch hunting at district headquarters here on Wednesday, state commission for Women chairperson Dr Minati Behera inaugurated this state-level event.
Speaking on the occasion chairperson Dr Behera said that for building a civilized society man and woman’s comparative participation is needed, but in our men-dominated society women are ignored due to superstition, hereditary rituals, and few perpetual practices, in several cases women are being victimized by witch hunting.
More importantly in the remote and tribal pockets of Odisha women are poor, and unaware, with illiteracy and superstition are the key factors of the menace of witch hunting, which continues relentlessly despite legal provisions under the Odisha Prevention of witch hunting Act 2013 being forced since the year 2014, chairperson Dr Behera said.
Several studies reveal that gender inequality, illiteracy, superstition, and poor socio-economic conditions are the factors contributing practice of witch hunting in the state, single women, widows, divorcees, and destitute women are more vulnerable to witch stamping, are not able to defend themselves and support of others. The laws are already in force protecting them, whoever practices witchcraft or other similar practices with intent to cause harm or injury to any person will face stringent punishment, but the need of the hour is to educate our women for eradicating the irrational and superstitious beliefs under witch hunting, urged attending resource persons at the seminar. Meanwhile, the state government has undertaken several activities for creating social and legal awareness across Odisha against witch hunting taking the help of Anganwadi workers, SHGs, Panchayat Raj institutions, and NGOs, they added.
Among others, state commission for Women member Bijaya Barua, Zilla Parishad president, resource persons Ghasiram Panda, N Tuna Sahoo, district social welfare officer Namita Rout, Jagatsinghpur municipality chairperson, and a few PRIs members attended the event. [Ends]