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Karnataka Cabinet clears anti-superstition bill

Karnataka Cabinet clears anti-superstition bill

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Cabinet today cleared the much-awaited anti-superstition bill to prevent and eradicate “inhuman evil practices” and said it would be tabled in the next state assembly session for approval.

The legislation was earlier proposed as The Evil, Inhuman and Superstitious Practices Prevention Bill. After omitting the word superstitious, it is now titled The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017.

“The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017 has been approved by the Cabinet. It will be tabled in the next session, most probably early November,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters here.

He said the bill had been prepared keeping in mind the suggestions made by progressive thinkers and organisations.

The Cabinet had earlier discussed the bill under the title The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill.

It had in July 2016 referred the legislation to a cabinet sub-committee headed by Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, citing that most of the ministers wanted the bill to be studied in detail before coming to any decision.

Expressing helplessness over government’s repeated inability in bringing his pet “anti-superstition” bill into effect, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had earlier blamed “vested interests” for it.

The government was under pressure from civil society groups to bring in an anti-superstition bill after the murder of rationalist M M Kalburgi.

Stating that there were provisions to make any addition or deletion from the proposed bill, Jayachandra said, “It will come to force once gazetted, and there are provisions to also amend or alter it thereafter.”

He said the proposed bill was similar to the one in Maharashtra, but the Karnataka bill has ‘savings’ and ‘schedule’ categories, which classify the practices that can be tolerated and those that need to be controlled or prohibited.

“For removal of doubts, nothing in the act shall apply with respect to the forms of worship mentioned under the heading ‘savings’ in the proposed act, like pradakshina, yatras, parikramas performed at religious places, among other normal practices,” the minister said.

He said it also includes the advice with regard to Vastushastra, advice by jyothishya and other astrologers.

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.

Other practices listed under 16 points for prohibition, include facilitating any person to roll over leaves of leftover food by other persons in any public or religious places or similar practices that violate human dignity, he said.

Forcing any person to carry on evil practices such as killing of an animal by biting its neck and coercing any person or persons to perform ‘fire walk’ at the time of ‘jatras’ (temple/village fest) and religious festivals have also been included, he added.

PTI