Karnataka: Coming soon, a Bill to kill superstition

Karnataka: Coming soon, a Bill to kill superstition”

Astrologers and vastu consultants can heave a sigh of relief as the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, popularly known as Anti-Superstition Bill will not come in the way of their profession. "It will also not interfere in rituals like piercing of ears and nose of children in accordance with religious practices of the people", said Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister TB Jayachandra.

However, in the diluted version of the bill that was approved, astrology or vaastu are not banned as against the original proposal.

The prohibited practices will be those that violate human dignity, the law minister added.

Black magic will be illegal and if it leads to death, the offender will face murder charges, proposes a draft anti-superstition law in Karnataka.

Rationalists in Karnataka had been demanding this bill since 2013.

Although the government was under pressure to ban sacrifices of animals like chicken, goats, pigs and buffaloes, widely seen in villages of the state, the Bill is silent on this. the brainchild of Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, who proposed it in the Legislative Assembly in 2015 when he was Speaker, the draft Bill was first submitted to the Cabinet for approval in May this year. This practice, prevalent in a few temples and mutts in Dakshina Kannada district, had drawn criticism from rationalists and progressive thinkers in the past few years.While those supporting the practice argue that participating in Made Snana is voluntary and in sync with the right to religious faith and belief, progressive thinkers dismissed it as a "casteist claim based on blind beliefs".

The words "aghori" and "narabali" (cannibalism and human sacrifice) have also been deleted in the revised bill as these practices are not found in the State. The bill also has a provision that every rule formed under it has to be cleared by both houses of the legislature.

Those practices which have been included under the "schedule" for prohibition are-performing any inhuman, evil act and black magic in search of precious things, bounty and hidden treasures, Jayachandra said.

But, it proposes to ban evil practices such as killing an animal by biting its neck (gaavu). Without naming the practise, the bill states that facilitating any person to roll over leaves with leftover food by others, in public or religious places, is banned.

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