Bangalore, Nov 7, 2013, DHNS: The BJP on Thursday announced that it will not allow the tabling of the proposed anti-superstition bill on the grounds that its provisions belittle Hindu sentiments.
The Siddaramaiah government had sought the help of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in preparing the draft.
The NLSIU had set up a committee comprising S Japhet, Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, NLSIU, Bangalore, Arghya Sengupta and Alok Prasanna, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi, among others.
The committee submitted a draft bill, along with a concept note for prevention and eradication of superstitious practices, to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah earlier this week.
The BJP also questioned the credibility of the members of the committee that drafted the concept note based on which the government will finalise the draft bill.
Siddaramaiah had said the government would work towards tabling the bill in the winter session of the legislature at Belgaum. He had also said that if required, one more round of talks would be held with the committee. However, the government is yet to finalise the draft bill.
Addressing a press conference in Bangalore on Thursday, BJP state president Pralhad Joshi and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar condemned the provisions of the draft Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013, and said the government has no right to infringe upon the beliefs of Hindus.
“The bill states that practices like “guddali pooje” (ground breaking ceremony), “paada pooje”, “adda pallakki” should be banned. This is unacceptable as there is a difference between superstition and faith. The BJP will not allow the bill to be tabled in the legislature,” they said.
13 practices listed
However, the rituals mentioned by Joshi, like “guddali pooje,” do not find a mention in the draft bill but only in the concept note.
The bill lists a set of 13 practices as “cognisable” offences that attract punishment ranging from imprisonment of between one and five years or fine. In case of human sacrifice, it specifies death penalty. It also criminalises practices such “maata,” “bettale seve” and “pankti bheda.”
Joshi said legal provisions were already in place banning practices like animal sacrifice and bettale seve (worshiping in the nude) and social evils like “Sati” system were rejected by the society.
He said the fact that the state government was keen to take the bill forward showed its anti-Hindu stand. The government was indulging in vote-bank politics by restricting the Shaadi Bhagya scheme only to the minorities, he added.
Reacting to the proposed bill with sarcasm, JD(S) leader H D Revanna, who believes in rituals and superstitions, said the Congress government should have tried introducing the bill at the Centre before launching it here.
“Do I need to take permission from Siddaramaiah and Law Minister T B Jayachandra for following the rituals to worship god? It is as if to say that I have to take their permission to have my food everyday,” he remarked.
He wondered whether the government could indeed think of apprehending the people across the State practising superstition or black magic. He said these “are all the government’s excuses to try and divert attention away from the real issues of poverty and livelihood which State is facing.”