The Day After: Maharashtra Government Clears Anti-Superstition Ordinance!

The crusade against superstition, rituals of blind faith and black magic went on for nearly twenty years, but the much awaited law never got passed. The crusader got killed in a brutal and cowardly attack in Pune yesterday, and the day after the Government of Maharashtra finally saw enough reason to clear an anti-superstition Ordinance to eventually replace the Bill that was first introduced in 1995 and even after 29 amendments in the draft failed to see the light of ‘reason’. The total closure in Pune today and spontaneous protests across a shocked and stunned Maharashtra seemed to have forced the government to take the decision. The Maharashtra cabinet today decided unanimously to promulgate the Ordinance for enacting the Maharashtra Eradication of Blind Faith Bill as a law.

If the fraud Babas, the money-rich self-styled godmen, the regressive fundamentalists and the brazen exploiters of religious sentiments heaved a devilish sigh of relief yesterday it is rank bad news for them today. The new measure will empower the government to bring under its ambit social and religious evils, human or animal sacrifices, rituals to drive out evil spirits or ensure a male progeny, witchcraft and wizardry practitioners, often cheating the gullible public.

The mortal remains of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar had been consigned to the flames in his hometown Satara attended by the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Cabinet colleagues, other political leaders and thousands of his followers.

Meanwhile the police have been unable to nab the assassins despite deploying eight special investigating teams on the job. A staunch right-wing group under the scanner today held a press conference to announce that they had absolutely no hand in the killing and that they were equally shocked and stunned by the murder.  
Thanks to the dedicated movement by Narendra Dabholkar Maharashtra becomes the first state in India to enact a law against social evils that have deep roots and powerful vested interests in the society. The next session of the state Legislative Assembly will be in December and it can be safely assumed that the Law would be enacted by then well before the Ordinance lapses—that is six months from now. Let reason, good faith and tolerance prevail in a much divided nation called India.


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