Karnataka anti-superstition Bill: what is banned and what is not?

September 27, 2017 05:24 pm | Updated October 19, 2022 04:09 pm IST

A man performs Sidi in Hassan, a ritual involving inserting hooks on the back and suspending from a pole.

A man performs Sidi in Hassan, a ritual involving inserting hooks on the back and suspending from a pole.

The Karnataka Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the much-delayed and debated Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, popularly known as the anti-superstition Bill.

The Bill, if cleared by the State legislature, is expected to put an end to various inhuman practices such as black magic, witchcraft, or any act in the name of religion that causes harm to humans and animals. However, acts such as Kesh Lochan (plucking of hair), vaastu and astrology have not been barred.

Here is the list of what is banned and what is not banned:

What is not banned:

    Forms of worship such as Pradakshina, Yatra, and Parikrama performed at religious places

    Harikatha, Keerthana, Pravachana, Bhajana, and the teaching of ancient and traditional learning and arts; their practice, propagation and circulation

    Miracles of the deceased saints, propagation, publicity and circulation of the same and the propagation, publicity and distribution of literature about miracles of the religious preachers which do not cause physical injury

    Performance of prayers, Upasana and religious rituals at home, temple, dargahs, gurdwara, pagoda, church, and other religious places which do not cause physical injury

    All religious celebrations, festivals, prayers, procession and other acts relating to other rituals

    Piercing of ears and noses of children in accordance with rituals and performance of religious rituals such as Kesh Lochan by the Jains

    Advice regarding vaastu shastra, and advice by jyothishya and other astrologers

What is banned:

    Facilitating any person or persons roll over (uruli seve) on the leaves of leftover food by other persons in any public or religious places or similar practices that violate human dignity, also known as made snana

    Coercing any person to perform fire-walks at the time of jatras/religious festivals, causing physical injury

    The practice of piercing rods from one side of the jaw to another side of the jaw and including the tongue ( baibiga practice)

    Pelting stones in the name of banamathi, mata-mantra and mata-mantra on the residential houses during night or day

    Prohibiting and preventing a person from taking medical treatment in the case of a dog, snake, or scorpion bite, and instead giving him ‘treatment’ like mata-mantra, gandra-dora of such other things

    Forcing a person to carry on evil practices such as the killing of an animal by biting its neck (gaavu), that cause harm to public and health nuisances

    Performing any inhuman, evil act and black magic in search of precious things, bounty and hidden treasure in the name of banamathi, mata-mantra; assaulting any person, parading them naked or putting a ban on his daily activities or instigating, advising or encouraging the committing of such inhuman acts

    To create an impression by declaring that a power inapprehensible by senses has influenced one’s body or that a person has possessed such power and thereby create fear in the minds of people. Or to threaten others with evil consequences for not following the advice of such a person or deceive, defraud and deter them

    Under the pretext of expelling the ghost, assaulting by tying the person with rope or chain, beating by stick or whip to make the person drink footwear-soaked water, causing pain by way of touching heated objects to organs or body of a person, forcing a person to perform a sexual act in the open, practice inhuman acts, putting urine or human excreta forcibly in the mouth of a person or practice any such acts

    Creating panic in the minds of the public in general by way of invoking ghosts or mantras

    Preventing a person from taking medical treatment and diverting him or her to practising inhuman evil and aghory acts

    Claiming to perform surgery by fingers or claiming to change the sex of a foetus in the womb of a woman

    Persuading, propagating or facilitating rituals that involve self-inflicted injuries such as hanging from a hook: inserted into the body ( sidi) or pulling a chariot by hook inserted into the body

    Persuading, propagating or facilitating rituals involving harm inflicted on children in the name of curing them, such as throwing them on thorns or from heights and branding them with heated objects

    Practising evil practices against women by forcing isolation, prohibiting re-entry into the village or facilitating segregation of menstruating, or pregnant women; and subjecting women to inhuman and humiliating practices such as parading them naked in the name of worship, or “betthale seve”

    Clarification: The Bill was earlier named the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, it has since been renamed the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017. The copy has been edited to reflect this.

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