Film targets witch-hunting


Efforts to weed out superstition in villages

Aei Maatite, the debut Assamese film of theatre personality and independent filmmaker Sitanath Lahkar on witch-hunting in Assam, will be screened in the state’s rural areas to create awareness against superstitions that often lead to lynchings.
The movie, which was released in October last year, was screened in 5 villages in Golaghat district in Upper Assam between June 5 and 9 with the support of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) and Numaligarh Refinery Sahitya Sabha.
Lahkar now wants to continue screening of Aei Maatite in other areas of the state also as the recent lynching of 2 youths in a village in Karbi Anglong district has sent shockwaves across the state.
He said: “As the film is based on witch-hunting that affects people in rural areas and smaller towns, we want to screen it in as many places as we can. It is really encouraging to see NRL coming forward to screen the film in some remote parts of our state to make people aware against superstitions and help develop a scientific temperament. We hope more corporate houses will come forward in future.”
The movie also talks about how a section of people are using witchcraft for their own interest. “The film has a very strong message against witch-hunting, upholding the importance of scientific temperament and human life. Witch-hunting is a superstition which has to be overcome by society itself,” Lahkar added.
During the 5-day campaign the film was screened at Mahuramukh, Bahikhowa, Betoni, Furkating and Numaligarh in Upper Assam.
“Nearly 10,000 people saw the movie and many villagers requested the organisers for more such screenings in other interior places,” Lahkar said.
Witch-hunting is a social malaise mainly in the rural areas where a villager or a family is held responsible for ailment of another villager and tagged a witch before being attacked and lynched.
More than 80 women have been killed in witch-hunting in the state since 2005, triggered by superstition and rumour-mongering.