Armed with data, activists press for superstition law

06 July,2011 07:36 AM IST |   |  Vivek Sabnis

Survey by Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti reveals 3,000 people fell prey to human sacrifice in last 10 yrs

Survey by Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti reveals 3,000 people fell prey to human sacrifice in last 10 yrs

This time they have the facts and figures to turn the heat on the government. A survey conducted by the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) found that about 3,000 people had fallen prey to human sacrifice in the last 10 years. And worse, these deaths are reported as accidental or murder due to personal enmity, says the survey. Social activists are rattling out this grim statistic, which they hope will make the state sit up and take notice; besides expediting the passing of the anti-superstition bill in the monsoon session of the state legislature that starts from July 26.

No more old wives' tale: Dr Narendra Dabholkaru00a0and Milind
Deshmukh speak on the issue of
anti-supersition bill. Pic/Vivek Sabnis

"The government can prevent further deaths by passing the bill this time. If the bill is not passed in the monsoon session, we will hold peaceful protests. The tradition of dakin (witches) and mantrik (sorcerer) is still rampant in the state because there is no political will," said Narendra Dabholkar, founder-president of ANS.

The state has been mulling over the anti-superstition bill for the last 16 years and is yet to take a call.
The survey by ANS revealed that a village Majgaon, about 50 km from the city, had to survive for almost three months without any men folk, all because of superstition.

"Two men died because of black magic in the village, some six months ago. The police then arrested eight youths from the village for the murder. So, there were no men in the village for three months. Only women and children remained," said Milind Deshmukh, state general secretary, ANS.

Human sacrifice
A woman killed her own four-year-old grandson near Dhondegaon, Karad, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's hometown. Avinash Patil, an ANS activist, said that the mantrik who convinced her to sacrifice her grandson was still on the loose. "If such things can happen near CM's hometown then the other areas will be worse," he said. Superstition is widespread in the state. "Gadchiroli, Gondia, Bhandara and Yavatmal are notorious for black magic. We are therefore keeping our own records about such crimes, which are not registered with the police," he said.Over 15,000 deaths due to snakebites was reported in the state in the past 15 years. Almost all the deaths, especially in the remote areas, were of patients being treated by mantriks, the survey found out. "In 1995, Gopinath Munde, the then deputy chief minister, announced a census of mantriks would be conducted. No such census has been made till date," said Deshmukh.

Yes, the bill should be passed because tantriks make a fool out of people and extract money out of them. Andhashradhha is still prevalent in rural areas. In cities we don't come to know about the grassroot reality.
--u00a0Anwesha chaudhary, financial analystu00a0

Yes, definitely the law should be passed. I also come from a rural area in Nanded district. In villages, people follow superstitious practices like bhanamiti. They believe in hidden treasure and lot of such things because they are uneducated and do not have the scientific bent of mind. So the anti-superstitious law bill should be passed.
--u00a0Ganesh Narkulwad, lecturer

No, the bill shouldn't be passed because there are lots of superstitious practices in our country which have not been proved scientifically wrong. So, if this bill is passed, it will curb these ancient practices. As far as the human sacrifices are concerned, they are already considered culpable by the Indian law.
--u00a0Gaurav Ghosh, filmmaker, owner of media production

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