Despite Assam’s attempts to curb witch-hunting in the state, rampant pursuit of maidens, widows, and the elderly frequent the regions. Laksheswari Daimary, a 53, widowed, was slaughtered in Geruajuli village on Saturday night after individuals barged in the house and murdered the woman after she was believed to be a witch.

Her body was found in the forests on Sunday morning, about one kilometer from their home. Simultaneously, locals have found Daimary’s grandson, Mohit Daimary, bound on their home, prompting that the killers might want to murder him as well.

Prior to the murder, she was reportedly harassed by superstitious neighbors, branding her as a witch. They even threatened to have her children killed as well.

According to reports, Daimary’s death occurred on April 24, 11 p.m., Saturday, when perpetrators barged in the house and beat her to death using bludgeons and sticks.

After the locals have discovered Daimary’s children at home, the search for her began Sunday morning. After discovering Daimary’s body in the woods, police began on a manhunt for the perpetrators.

According to Sonitpur Deputy Superintendant of Police Rasmi Rekha Sarma, there is no clue as to whether the murder is a case of witch-hunting.

Daimary lived alone with her four children.

Assam is no stranger to witch-hunting. About 107 people have been murdered in witch-hunting activities in Assam from 2011 to 2019. Overall, India has reported nearly 2,300 witch killings from 2001. On average, about one death is reported every three days concerning witch-hunting.

Human rights activists found the scenario undermining women's dignity and violate women’s rights.

In 2015, the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention, and Protection) Act was filed for the protection of innocent women suspected of practicing black magic.

The bill was put into law to provide effective measures to ban witch-hunting and protect suspected women from such activities. The act also serves to eliminate torture, stigma, and humiliation against women by a section of superstitious society.

Those found guilty will be imprisoned for three to seven years with fines of up to 5,000,000 rupees.

Meanwhile, some people demanded a hefty penalty for such crimes and claimed capital punishment for those involved with the murder of Daimary.

Witch Costume Representational image. Pixabay