Activists blame that due to lack of political will the Anti-superstition Bill has not seen the light of day. Though the bill has been approved five times by state cabinet and has been finally introduced in the assembly, it is yet to be debated. Many feel the new law will help uproot evil practices followed in the name of religion. Speak Up throws light on the matter
New law will help in curbing evil practices
The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) for the last 22 years has been working in the state against the spread of superstition in society. MANS is also actively working with police and the court of law to uproot the evil superstitious practices. We feel that speedy enactment of law will protect people from being misguided.
There are many unscrupulous people in society who take advantage of people’s belief in superstition and cheat them of their money. Hence, it is essential to enact a law to protect innocent people from those who take advantage of ignorance that prevails within our society.
The Anti-superstition Bill has been approved five times by the state cabinet till now but still hasn’t been passed by the assembly and council. The bill has for the first time been introduced in the assembly but is yet to be debated. The present government is showing no interest in passing the bill.
The enactment of new law will surely help in curbing evil and uncivilised practices in Maharashtra as the existing laws have failed to do so.
Narendra Dabholkar, founder, MANS
Ajit Pawar has promised to look into the matter
There is a general lack of scientific and technological outlook within our society due to which attempts to remove superstitious practices and rituals take a backstage and never given priority. I had a discussion with deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar and he has promised to look into the matter. I have not gone into the details of the Anti-superstition Bill when it was proposed for the first time, but I promise to do my best to ensure that the bill gets through.
We have to understand that the Dalit populace has become progressive because they are now staying away from such superstitious practices that prevailed previously. As a progressive state, we have to get rid of such evil rituals.
Jaideo Gaikwad, NCP, MLC
Witch-hunting is still prevalent in the state, which is violent
The Anti-superstition Bill is very important because as a society we have still not changed our outlook towards superstitious ritualistic practices. We are still stuck with the old belief systems and rituals. For example, witch-hunting is still prevalent in the state, which is grossly violent and happens mostly for snatching property rights of widows.
Even child sexual abuse and killing cases keep popping up every now and then, which is a heinous and hard to digest practice and can be eradicated only if there is a strong law in place.
Believing in religious practices and having faith in certain religious beliefs is part of our fundamental rights but following barbaric and evil rituals is not.
We need strong laws to protect our people from falling prey to such rituals. I have come across bizarre cases of superstitious belief in our society wherein an HIV person was told to have sex with a child to get rid of his disease.
Such sickening beliefs need to be changed immediately as it is causing huge damage to our society.
Asim Sarode, human rights activist
Vote bank politics is cause for delay in passing the bill
We desperately need to overcome superstitious practices that are still prevalent in our society. These evil rituals are absolutely dangerous and must be eradicated quickly. The reason why Anti-superstition Bill is not being cleared by the government is due to lack of political will. People are taking political mileage as it is all connected to the vote bank politics, which in my opinion is the reason why it has not been passed for the last so many years. The state will keep saying that it is serious about passing the bill but in reality will always keep it pending. We need an Anti-superstition law even though it is not immediately life threatening. People have to be educated against superstition and law will help in protecting innocent lives. Such evil acts should be condemned and discouraged.
Dr Hemant Chandorkar, consulting psychiatrist