‘Witch-hunting’ film directed by Cotton college retired Principal, AASU appeals people to watch

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Guwahati, October 4: An appeal to join hands against the menace of witch hunting and come out in large numbers to watch the Assamese film ‘Aei Maatite’ has been made by AASU leaders, All Bodo Students’ Union and Students’ Federation of India to the people of Assam.

The Assamese film ‘Aei Maatite’ based on the social evil of ‘Witch-hunting’ is directed by filmmaker and noted theatre personality Dr Sitanath Lahkar. The story, screenplay, dialogues and lyrics have also been penned by Dr Lahkar, a retired Principal of Cotton College. It is set to release across the state on October 6.

Numerous student leaders and social activists have acted in the film, making it a first of its kind full length Assamese film, where people from all fraternity of life come together to address an ongoing social issue.

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AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said while speaking to reporters that he have acted in the film and believe that being a powerful tool to communicate with all sections of people the film will stir up mass awareness on the issue of witch hunting.

‘Witch hunting’, is an act of branding of victims, mostly women as witches. The victim, who is branded as a witch most of the time, is subjected to various forms of torture, beatings, and burns, paraded naked through the village, forced to eat human excreta and sometimes even raped. In some of the observed cases their hair was cut off and the victim and their children were ostracized and even lynched to death.

The practice of witch hunting is also connected to the prevalence of patriarchal attitudes and an opposition to women’s rights over property. Lack of education has contributed to the continuation of this antiquated practice of witch hunting.

The Assam state assembly unanimously passed Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill on May 8, 2015, in a proposition to eradicate rising cases of fallacy leading to the murder of so-called “witches”.

The punishment for indulging in with hunting may be extended to life imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.

In spite of all the steps taken, the crime still persists in Assam.The film received a U/A certificate clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification.