Looking at a watered-down anti-superstition Bill

A file photo of devotees performing made snana on the Sri Krishna Mutt premises in Udupi.

A file photo of devotees performing made snana on the Sri Krishna Mutt premises in Udupi.

After several rounds of discussions in the State Cabinet and with experts, the ruling Congress has decided to tone down the anti-superstition Bill.

Banning of several superstitious practices, including made snana, astrology and animal sacrifices, will be dropped from the draft Bill, according to Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa.

A Cabinet subcommittee, headed by Mr. Thimmappa, drafted the Bill and referred it to the Law Department for finalising various provisions.

Mr. Thimmappa told presspersons on Tuesday that several stringent provisions of the original Bill had been dropped owing to difficulty in enforcement. The Bill, titled ‘Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill’, would be introduced during the next session of the State legislature, which is likely to be held in November-December.

The original Bill envisaged banning practices and customs such as human sacrifice, exorcism, black magic, witchcraft, aghori, made snana , rituals with self-inflicted injuries, throwing of infants from a height on a bed of thorns, parading women in the nude, sexual exploitation by invoking supernatural powers, and killing animals by biting their neck.

Move defended

Defending the move to leave some rituals out of the Bill, the Minister maintained that some evil practices can be eliminated only by creating awareness among people and not through legislation. Citing an example, he pointed out that it was difficult to ban sacrifice of chickens during village festivals through legislation alone.

A couple of years ago, the Bill was drafted on the lines of Maharashtra’s legislation — the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. The earlier Bill had listed 23 practices that were proposed to be banned.

Following opposition from the BJP and some seers, the State Cabinet had deferred the Bill several times.

It is seen as a commitment made by the Chief Minister to rationalists, writers and activists fighting for banning superstitious practices.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2022 12:38:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/looking-at-a-watered-down-anti-superstition-bill/article19166758.ece