Anti-superstition ordinance cleared by M’rashtra Cabinet

Anti-superstition ordinance cleared by M’rashtra Cabinet
Highlights

A day after anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to promulgate an ordinance to enact a long-pending bill to eradicate black magic, blind faith and superstitious beliefs.

Mumbai, Aug 21 (IANS): A day after anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to promulgate an ordinance to enact a long-pending bill to eradicate black magic, blind faith and superstitious beliefs.

The law will be the first such in the country. Dabholkar spearheaded a campaign against supersititions, black magic and witchcraft for the past three decades. He was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants near the Omkareshwar Temple in Pune on Tuesday morning, sparking outrage across the state. Sanatan Sanstha, the Hindu right-wing group often at loggerheads with Narendra Dabholkar, sought to distance itself from the killing. "We are shocked by Dabholkar's murder...We don't have anything to do with the killing," Sanatan spokesperson Abhay Vartak said. Conceding that Dabholkar did "commendable" work, Vartak said, "We had differences with his ideology, not with him as an individual."

Political parties and social organisations have called for a bandh in Pune on Thursday to protest the murder. Condemning the killing, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh called for identifying the people behind the murder. The Maharashtra cabinet decided unanimously to promulgate the ordinance, which was introduced in the assembly in 1995. The Maharashtra Eradication of Blind Faith Bill, redrafted around 29 times, was to be passed by the legislature. However, it was delayed due to severe opposition from various quarters, especially Hindu groups, which claimed it to be "anti-Hindu".
The bill will empower the government to bring under its ambit social and religious evils, human or animal sacrifices, rituals to drive out evil spirits or ensure a male progeny, perpetrated by self-styled godmen, witchcraft and wizardry practitioners, often cheating the gullible public.
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