Dr. (Maj) Dipam Kumar Barman with the child actors. Image: Northeast Now

At the time when the disturbing incidences of witch hunting are going on unabated across the state destroying lives of many innocent men and women branding them as practitioners of witchcraft, a short film on witch hunting is doing the rounds in the most popular video sharing website youtube creating awareness about the sensitive subject of witch hunting and its ill effects on the society.

The ten minute long short film titled “Ma-Deuta, Moi Daini Nohoi” (Mom-Dad, I am not a witch) is acted by the children of tea garden workers of Hathikuli Tea Estate, situated in Bokakhat in the Upper Assam’s Golaghat district.

Believe me, none of them has ever acted either on stage or in front of camera, said Dr. (Maj) Dipam Kumar Barman who produced and directed the short film.

Barman who served in the Indian army as a Major has joined Hathikuli Tea Estate as senior medical officer 18 months back.

“I was deeply moved by the horrific incident took place at Kathilangsho area in Karbi Anglong where the mob  killed Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath on suspicion of being child-lifters. Then I thought that the menace of superstitions and witchcraft are in practice, especially in remote areas and therefore I have decided to create awareness among the masses and if the message contained in the film is able to make a difference, then my purpose will be fulfilled,” Barman told Northeast Now.

Barman apart from rendering his service in the tea garden hospital used to groom and teach the children of tea garden workers about various topics including etiquette, science, mathematics and social studies.

“We have a group called Bhut Jolokiya under which we used to produce various features and this is for the first time we have focused on witch hunting and when we have given various themes to the children and asked them to choose on which theme they would like to perform. Interestingly the children have preferred witch hunting as they are aware of this alarming issue,” said Barman.

The short film has a total of ten characters and it started from age of four to 14 years.

According to reports, between 2001 and 2017, there have been 193 witch-hunting deaths (79 male and 114 female), 202 registered cases. A total of 931 persons have been arrested in witch-hunting cases.

In July, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015, converting it to an Act which imposes imprisonment of up to seven years, along with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh, for branding someone as witch.

Ritupallab Saikia

Ritupallab Saikia is Northeast Now Correspondent in Golaghat. He can be reached at: mousum.saikia@gmail.com

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