Around Asia: Activist shooting sees superstition outlawed

An Indian state has outlawed superstition and black magic after a prominent activist was shot to death.

Two men on motorcyles gunned down anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune city in the western state of Maharashtra Wednesday morning, according to reports.

The incident prompted the state government to approve a law banning human sacrifices, exorcism and other “inhumane, evil practices”.

“An ordinance will be promulgated in the next two days” until the state assembly approves it to become permanent, officials said on Wednesday.

News of the legislation came amid protests in Pune over the killing of Dabholkar. The demonstrations shut down 90% of the city, as most businesses and shops were shuttered.

No arrests had been made in relation to the shooting and the motive has yet to be determined, police commissioner Gulabrao Pol told AFP.

Dabholkar, an atheist, founded the Committee for the Eradication of Blind Faith and met opposition over the bill.

The law was first mooted in 1995 after Hindu nationalists criticized the bill, saying it could be used to curb religious freedoms.

But Dabholkar rejected claims the bill was anti-religion.

“In the whole of the bill, there’s not a single word about God or religion … The Indian constitution allows freedom of worship and nobody can take that away,” he said in an interview with AFP two years ago.

by Maesie Bertumen

Photo: spispharam/Flickr

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