Expressing helplessness over government’s inability in bringing his pet “anti-superstition” bill into effect, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday blamed “vested interests” for it. “We have not been able to bring into effect the anti-superstition bill, because of some vested interests,” Siddaramaiah said in a tweet.
Karnataka cabinet which had discussed the proposed ‘Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill’ during its sittings in July had referred it to a cabinet sub-committee headed by Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa.
It was then said that most of the Ministers wanted the bill to be studied in detail before coming to any decision.
Besides Thimmappa, the committee consists of Health Minister Ramesh Kumar, Law Minister T B Jayachandra, Environment Minister Ramanath Rai and Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya.
Stating that the proposed bill was similar to the Act on the subject in Maharashtra, Ministerial sources had said that the word superstitious has been omitted from the proposed bill, which was earlier named as Evil, Inhuman and Superstitious Practices Prevention Bill.
The government, especially Law Minister T B Jayachandra was under pressure from civil society groups to bring in an anti-superstition bill after the murder of rationalist M M Kalburgi.
Official sources say though the proposed bill is similar to the one in Maharashtra, the difference is that the Karnataka bill has schedules.
The schedules categorise the practices that can be tolerated and those that need to be controlled. There are about 24 practices in the bill that come under the ‘to be controlled’ category.
Noting that there are about 24 practices in the bill that come under the to be controlled category, they said these include sacrificing a human being for gain or appeasing deity, spreading belief in human sacrifice, persuading others to perform human sacrifice, practicing black magic and extracting money in the name of miracles among others.
Sources have also said that the bill does not interfere with the sentiments of anyone but intends to curtail practices that exploit someone, extract money and indulge in violence.
Asserting that the bill does not put a restriction on normal religious and traditional practices, they said consultations on Vastu, underground water source and astrologers has not been touched upon.
Practices like made snana, a ritual where people roll on plantain leaves left by Brahmin priests after partaking lunch in some temples, were also part of the bill.