The anti black magic and superstition ordinance has been promulgated in Maharashtra, four days after the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune.
Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan has given his assent to the anti black magic and superstition ordinance. "The ordinance has been promulgated," a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said in Mumbai this evening. The angry protests sparked by Dabholkar's killing prompted the Maharashtra government to clear an ordinance to enforce the anti-superstition bill he had championed for years.
Dabholkar had drafted the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Bill over a decade ago, but it repeatedly failed to get through the State Legislature. The Bill had proposed that those indulging in black magic or preying on peoples' superstitions be jailed for up to seven years. The bill also sought to ban a range of practices including black magic, animal sacrifice and magical remedies to cure ailments.
The bill would be taken up for passage during the winter session of state legislature at Nagpur in December. Dabholkar's family was sharply critical of the delay. "The Bill was kept pending for years. We do not know if his life would have been saved if the government had acted earlier, but it would have sent out a message that the government stands by rationalist thought," said his daughter Mukta Dabholkar.