Maharashtra state rushes emergency legislation through after Dabholkar murder

Many businesses closed and people protested the killing of this Indian rationalist.

BBC News – Narendra Dabholkar: India’s Maharashtra state bans black magic after killing.

The Indian state of Maharashtra has enacted emergency laws banning black magic and superstition, one day after a prominent campaigner was killed.

On Thursday, the Maharashtra state government enacted an ordinance to ban rituals, superstition and black magic. However a bill must still be endorsed by the parliament or this legislation will lapse.

The bill that Mr Dabholkar was campaigning for had been approved by the cabinet but lapsed before it could be put to a vote – it had been on a waiting list for eight years.

After his murder, the government rushed through emergency legislation which, according to local media reports, makes it an offence to exploit people by offering rituals, charms and magical cures, and to practice black magic.

Often it takes emotion to prompt action. This article notes that the bill, which is troublesome to those who feel it is prohibitive of religious practices, does not mention religion but it solely “about fraudulent and exploitative practices”. India allows freedom of religion.

Here is the story from yesterday.

  2 comments for “Maharashtra state rushes emergency legislation through after Dabholkar murder

  1. One Eyed Jack
    August 21, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    How do you ban superstition? One person’s superstition is another person’s religion.

  2. August 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    This is not good news at all. I cannot find a draft of the text of the bill online but the published aspirations seem ill-conceived it, as it seems to be proscribing beliefs and acts of worship rather than just limiting attempts to defraud people. Free societies let people believe idiotic stuff and practise weird rites (as long as they don’t harm other humans and to a lesser extent animals). I’d rather have a free society with irrational thinkers spouting daft stuff than an unfree one with state enforced rationalism. Education is the only thing that can overcome superstition with perhaps consumer rights legislation to deal with people who want money for their activities.

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