Belagavi: The much talked about Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, was passed amidst stiff opposition from the BJP and senior JD(S) leader, H D Revanna, in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
Leading the debate , Mr C. T Ravi of the BJP contended that the government could not be selective in curbing superstitious practices of Hindus alone and ignore those of the minority communities .
Observing that people hurt themselves during Moharram, he wanted to know if having halal meat could also be termed as a superstition. When Mr Basavaraj Rayareddy of the Congress intervened to explain that people hurt themselves in Moharram to mourn the brutal killing of Hazarat Imam Hassan and Hussein in battle, Mr Ravi wondered how such a practice could continue after so many centuries.
Defending Made Snana, which is banned under the Bill, Mr Ravi said it should be left to people's discretion to practice it or not and the government should take action only if someone was forced to do it. It should be the same with walking on fire, he argued.
Mr Visveshwar Hegde Kageri of the BJP kicked up a row by asking if the Sunnat practices of the Muslims were superstitions or a matter of belief. Contrary to his party's line on the bill, Mr Revanna too urged the government not to interfere in people's beliefs. “Please don't pass this bill till the 2018 assembly elections," he pleaded .
However, Mr Y S V Datta of the JDS wanted the Bill to cover the Mahamastabhisheka of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola scheduled for February, arguing that lakhs of litres of milk would be wasted on the occasion.
Social Welfare Minister, H Anjaneya, who moved the Bill, promised to incorporate some of the suggestions made when issuing a notification on it . The Bill was later passed by a voice vote.
Supporters of Made Snana say they will approach the court
The passing of the Anti- Superstition Bill in the Assembly on Thursday has upset temple devotees, who are keen on continuing with the Made Snana ritual that it seeks to ban. Bhaskar Bendodi, president of the Rajya Adivasi Budakattu Hitharakshana Vedike, has even warned they will challenge the Anti-Superstition Bill in court if the government does not withdraw its ban. " We want the government to drop Made Snana from the ambit of the Bill. If it does not, we will approach the court," he declared.
The ritual, which sees devotees roll on plantain leaves carrying leftovers of meals eaten by Brahmins, was stayed by a Supreme Court order of December 2014. In its place devotees now do Yedey Snana ritual, offering rice to the deities and placing it on plantain leaves to feed cows. They later roll on these plantain leaves. But Mr Bendodi does not find this an adequate substitute . "Made Snana has been practiced for centuries, there is no harm in it. When the government has not banned devotees from putting their hand in boiling oil, which is dangerous, why is it targeting this harmless ritual?" he demanded, adding, "We believe that if any traditional practice is discontinued in Kukke, we could be in trouble. We have no objection to devotees voluntarily giving up Made Snana and will see it as the will of God. But we don't approve of the government's interference."