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Do We Need Special Laws?

'Witch-hunting' in India?

This paper discusses the findings of a socio-legal study on witch-hunting conducted by the Partners for Law in Development in Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. It highlights the results of the study in order to offer a critical perspective on the increasing reliance on special laws to address the problem of witch-hunting. The socio-legal evidence from the states which already have such special laws on witch-hunting shows their inefficacy in dealing with witch-hunting and related forms of violence. Criminalisation of witch-hunting through special laws is an inadequate response to the problem which has much in common with other forms of violence. There is a need to focus on accountability and reform of the agencies that activate the criminal justice system and to plug the vacuum in relation to reparative justice.

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