Witch doctors beware: Indian state passes bill to debunk black magic, religious charlatans

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Witch doctors and religious charlatans beware: New legislation passed in a central Indian state aims to prosecute those who use beliefs and superstition to defraud or physically harm followers.

Maharashtra became the first state to pass such legislation in multicultural and secular India, where witch doctors and Hindu holy men enjoy huge popularity and can amass millions in contributions or fees for promised miracles and health cures.

Once the bill is signed by the governor, police will be able to investigate religious fraud, extremism and human sacrifice. Activists said they'd like to see such legislation passed nationwide.

"This is great news," said activist Deepak Girme of the Maharashtra Blind Faith Eradication Committee. "A lot of awareness has been raised about the fact that this superstitious mindset still exists among the poor, who are often illiterate and uneducated."

Written By: Katy Daigle
continue to source article at ca.news.yahoo.com

11 COMMENTS

    • In reply to The Article:

      On Sunday night, police arrested six men suspected of beheading a 50-year-old woman in a ritual human sacrifice on the outskirts of Mumbai. The victim had gone to visit a holy man over concerns for her ailing son, but instead was sacrificed by some of his followers who threw her head over a bridge in an act they believed would cure their own health problems, according to district police superintendent Anil Kumbhar.

      I reckon the above paragraph is just about the only thing that puts The 700 Club a tiny notch above these people. Scientology, an even tinier notch.

  1. In passing the bill Saturday, the assembly was careful to exempt many common religious or cultural practices, including consulting astrologers or palm readers, preaching from ancient Hindu scriptures or mythology, or fasting or flagellation during the Muslim holiday of Muharram.

    Hard to draw the line (snigger) when it’s ALL hogwash.

    Step in the right direction,though.Narendra Dabholkar would have been pleased.

  2. In reply to #4 by Tahoe Blue:

    I don’t think being a Godless/Atheist in this environment would make you safe.

    Unlike most countries being an atheist or an agnostic isn’t an issue at all. Half of our current cabinet in the parliament are atheists. We have had a few atheist prime ministers.

    But what is more difficult is being a rationalist and are campaigning for rational and secular ideals. You would be going against big businesses Snake Oil salesmen, New Age gurus & Catholic church. Sanal is living in Helsinki for going against the Catholic Church. And Dabholkar was assassinated for campaigning against superstition and new age bullshit.

  3. activists said they’d like to see such legislation passed nationwide

    Maybe then arrest charges will finally be dropped against Sanal Edamaruku, and he can go home.

    In the interim, he continues to lecture where possible – e.g. recent TAM appearance.

    And yes, he is a rock star in the secular community.

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