The state government of Assam plans to introduce an awareness programme called 'Sanskar' in all its development blocks and panchayats.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the state’s Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati on June 11, 2018. It comes in the wake of incidents triggered by superstition and ignorance including the lynching of two people in Karbi Anglong district.
• The state has directed the authorities concerned to frame modalities for the programme and a suitable roadmap to implement the programme at all levels of the state in order to avoid any unfortunate situation due to superstitions.
• The programme would involve all deputy commissioners, superintendents of police and all government departments concerned in a district.
• Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) would be the nodal agency of the programme.
• Local bodies, women's organisations, voluntary organizations, media persons, leading citizens, academicians, MPs and MLAs from ruling and opposition parties would be the stakeholders of the programme.
• Social activist Birubala Rabha, who has been tirelessly fighting against witch-hunting, will also be a part of the programme.
The state’s chief minister also informed the parents of the two youths, who were killed in Karbi Anglong district on June 8 on the suspicion of being child lifters, about the programme. The parents advocated the need for generating awareness throughout the state so that the society could be empowered to prevent recurrence of such an incident in future.
• Two men from Guwahati, who were on a visit to Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, were lynched late night on June 8, 2018 by a group of villagers who suspected them to be child lifters.
• A grainy video surfaced after the incident, which showed the mod thrashing the two men- Abhijit Nath and Nilotpal Das, both in their 20s-with sticks, with others in the crowd kicking them around.
• The two youth were battered to death on mere suspicion.
• The Assam Police have arrested 16 people in connection with the lynching incident.
• The arrested persons have been booked under Section 302/34 of IPC and interrogation is on.
Assam has seen such incidents in the past too.
In February 1983, more than 2000 Muslim settlers were butchered by a large group of villagers, whose identities were never confirmed though many say they were indigenous Assamese farmers of nearby villages.
The incident remained as one of the darkest chapters in Assam’s history.