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Updated: August 22, 2013 02:27 IST

Maharashtra to issue anti-superstition ordinance

Staff Reporter
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Protests continue in Pune against Dabholkar’s murder

The angry protests sparked by the brutal murder of renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar have prompted the Maharashtra government to clear an ordinance enforcing the anti-superstition measures he had championed for years.

Mr. Dabholkar had drafted an Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Bill 13 years ago but it repeatedly failed to get through the Assembly.

The Bill had proposed that those indulging in black magic or cashing in on people’s superstitions be jailed for up to seven years.

It also sought to ban a range of practices including animal sacrifice and magical remedies to cure ailments.

Mr. Dabholkar’s family was sharply critical of the delay. “The Bill was kept pending for years. We do not know if his life would have been saved if the government had acted earlier but it would have sent out a message that the government stands by rationalist thought,” said his daughter Mukta Dabholkar. “His life was a sacrifice. Now the government needs to make it clear whether it will protect those who work for society or wait for more of these sacrifices,” she added.

The Bill was introduced thrice in the Assembly and underwent 29 amendments but still not passed. It ran into opposition from the Shiv Sena-BJP and organisations that feared the Bill would target only the Hindu faith and curb religious freedom. The State government had claimed it would introduce the Bill once again in the Assembly session this July but did not do so.

The Opposition is now blaming the government. “The government failed to introduce the Bill in the last session. This shows it had no will to get it passed,” said State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis.

Meanwhile the murder investigation has not yielded any firm leads for the police. Earlier in the day, protests continued in Pune where Mr. Dabholkar was gunned down. In a march led by students, public anger against politicians was apparent. Local politicians who joined the march were prevented from making speeches. “We will not let politicians score points through their fake solidarity,” said youth activist Siddharthya Roy. “I am angry, but I will not let this anger go waste. It is now our collective responsibility to continue the work that Dr. Dabholkar left behind,” said Tushar Joshi, a 19-year-old student who took part in the march.

Its pragmatic to ban on all forms of exorcism and acts of superstitions which belie science and dwell upon the orthodox mentality of the people. Is regressive in nature which hamper the social development , it allows people, especially in rural areas to prefer exorcist over doctor, its the same parochial mindset most of us have inherited from our forefathers and ancestors and hence so deeply rooted in society that some people still blindly believe in magic,talismanic powers. No doubt that we have progressed allot in various fronts but sadly when it comes to choose between fact and belief, we tend to incline towards the later one since we are so used to it. The faded line can't be more blurred

from:  neeraj bhatt
Posted on: Aug 22, 2013 at 06:05 IST

Fight against superstition is not new to this country. The struggle dates back to the days of Periyar Ramaswamy Naickers aggressive campaign against God and agents of God. He was true rationalist and very strong crusader against all kinds of blind faith including belief in the existence of God. His agitation against exploitation of ignorant devotees of God by the agents of God led to rise of Dravidian movement in old Madras state. Periyars disciple and great mass leader C.N.Annadorai became Chief Minister.

from:  Chamaraj
Posted on: Aug 22, 2013 at 01:55 IST

The legislation should be enacted as exactly as what the Martyr of Rationality Dabholkar wanted rather than a cunningly diluted question to those tom toming ''religious freedom'' if the draconian ''anticonversion law'' can be framed and passed by BJP ruled gov...why not antisuperstition law............superstitions is the backbone of the expoitative religious system............this is why they are opposing antisuperstition law

from:  Jagdish
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 20:16 IST

As much as I like rationality and logic to prevail over people's minds, this sort of bill looks more like thought censorship to me. Irrational beliefs should be dealt with education, not with laws.

from:  M Wasif Khan
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 14:47 IST

There are those who say that homeopathy is superstition. Are we now to outlaw homeopathy? There are those skeptopaths who would like to do so. How do you tell the difference between a con artist & black magic vs. a truly spiritual advanced soul & spirituality. Be very, very careful with this law. Lots of innocent people can get hurt and great damage could happen to the nation by this law.

from:  Roger Bird
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 13:52 IST

It is too late but correct step in right direction to promulgate an ordinance for enacting a bill against black magic, blind faith and superstition in 21st century where these beliefs do not hold water and some times unlawfully inhuman acts are committed on the name of religious faith. It should be implemented uniformly for all sections of society without giving any kind of concession on the names of religion or faith.

from:  Dinesh Singh
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 13:32 IST

Stupidity can only be fixed by education and awareness, not by laws and government policing.

from:  Hyderabadi
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 13:20 IST

Good move by the State Govt.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 13:04 IST

As an Indian I wonder Are we living in a Developing Nation in the 21st Century, secondly Are we enjoying the status of Democracy , A Nation which is Blessed by over Millions of our ancestors The Freedom Fighters who through their dedication,sacrifice,and Intellect delivered us from the bondage of colonial rule.It appears as though we are yet governed by Provincial Chieftains who then dictated the rules is still existing Today.

from:  John M Dsouza
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 12:53 IST

Strange country and stranger logic! What has to be fought with education, law is sought to be passed. Tell me which country has no superstitious practices. Has any country passed laws to ban them. Our country will pass law for everything,opening more avenues for bribery and harrassment.

from:  Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 12:41 IST

faith or no faith is individual freedom. legislation on an individuals faith and belief is ridiculous and infringes on human rights

from:  sampat
Posted on: Aug 21, 2013 at 12:38 IST
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