An alarming number of incidences of exploitation of the common people in the society because of human sacrifice and other inhuman, evil, sinister and Aghori practices and practices of black magic and evil spirits at the hands of conman as a means of earning money has continuously come to light.
There has been an exorbitant increase in the spread of harmful practices, usages, black magic and such other inhuman, evil, sinister and Aghori practices and common people falling prey to the sinister designs of the black magicians and conman, whose false claims of possessing magical or miraculous remedies or powers and anti-social and harmful activities are threatening to damage the very social fibre and the beliefs of the common people in the authentic and scientific medical remedies and cures and driving them, on account of ignorance, to take recourse to such black magicians and conman.
Presently, in India, there is no central legislation to deal with the evil, inhumane, sinister and Aghori and black magic practices prevailing in the society. But few states have enacted legislation and further measures are being taken by the governments of different states to eradicate the epidemic of black magic from the society.
The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013
This Act was originally drafted by anti-superstition activist and the founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), Narendra Dabholkar in 2003. However, it was criticized for having poor definitions of terms like superstition, black magic, spells, sorcery etc and protested by various religious institutions for violating religious freedom. In the aftermath of Narendra Dabholkar's murder, the resulting bill was promulgated on 26th August, 2013 for the state of Maharashtra with an aim to eradicate human sacrifice and other evil, inhuman and sinister and aghori practices thriving in the society in the name of so-called supernatural or magical powers or evil spirits commonly known as black magic by conman for their own sinister and evil motives and to further ensure a safe and healthy social environment with a view to protect the common people in the society against such inhuman practices.
Salient features of the Act
- Section 3 of the Act provides that any person who commits, promotes, propagates or practices any act of human sacrifice and other inhuman, evil and aghori practices and black magic in violation of the provisions of this Act, shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which shall extend from six months to seven years with fine ranging from Rs. 5000- Rs. 50000.
- Further, whoever abets or attempts to commit any act prohibited under this Act shall be punishable in the same manner as that of the main perpetrator.
- Section 5 provides that it shall be the duty of the Vigilance Officer to detect and prevent and to collect evidence for the effective prosecution of persons contravening the provisions of this Act and to report the same to the police station of the area.
- The vigilance officer is also entrusted with the power to seize any material, instrument or advertisement which, he has reason to believe that the same has been used for the commission of any act which is in contravention of the provisions of this Act.
- If the accused has been convicted under the act, then the competent court has the power to instruct the police to publish in the local newspaper where such offence had taken place, the name and place of residence of the offender together with the fact that such offender had been convicted of an offence under this Act.
- The Act defines 12 acts which are prohibited and punishable under the Act.
(1) Under the pretext of expelling the ghost, assaulting by tying a person with rope or chain, beating by stick or whip, giving chili smoke, hanging a person to roof, fixing him with rope or by hair or plucking his hair, causing pain by way of touching heated object to organs or body of a person, forcing a person to perform sexual act in the open, or practicing any such acts.
(2) Earning money by way of display of miracles and to deceive, defraud and terrorize people by propagation and circulation of so-called miracles.
(3) Instigating people to follow inhuman, evil and aghori practices which cause danger to life or grievous hurt with a view to receive blessings of supernatural powers.
(4) Committing any inhuman, evil and aghori act and black magic in quest of some bounty or reward for trying to advise, instigate or encourage people to commit such inhuman acts.
(5) Creating the impression that a person has supernatural powers and thereby threatening and compelling to follow his/ her orders.
(6) Accusing a person of practising black magic or being an incarnation of saitan, blaming him/her of causing diseases or misfortune, and harassing the person.
(7) In the name of black magic assaulting any person, parading him naked or put a ban on his daily activities.
(8) Creating panic in the minds of the public by way of invoking ghost or mantras, or threatening to invoke ghost, creating an impression that there exists supernatural powers, and preventing a person from taking medical treatment and instead diverting him to practice inhuman, evil and aghori acts.
(9) Prohibiting and preventing a person from taking medical treatment in case of dog, snake or scorpion bite and instead compelling him/her to take magic remedies.
(10) Claiming to perform surgery by fingers, or claiming to change the sex of a fetus in the womb of a woman.
(11) (a) Create an impression that a person possesses special supernatural powers, an incarnation of another person or holy spirit, thereby indulging into sexual activity with such a person.
(b) To keep sexual relations with a woman, who is unable to conceive, assuring her of motherhood through supernatural power.
(12) To create an impression that a mentally retarded person as having inhuman powers and thereby gaining monetary benefits.
Thus, the Act is a step forward in eradicating the evil, inhuman and Black magic activities proliferating in the society
Lately, a Nashik court held 11 people guilty of killing two sisters on suspicion of being possessed by evil spirits and sentenced them to life, in the first conviction under Maharashtra’s anti-superstition and black magic act that came into force in 2013.
Maharashtra Black Magic Act – A Rising Hope in the Dark
Before the enactment of this Act, the bill as drafted by Narendra Dhabolkar was criticized by various religious institutions including the Art of Living Foundation, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Shiv Sena for violating religious freedom, not acknowledging divine power and having poor definitions of terms like superstition, black magic, spells, sorcery etc.
Narendra Dabholkar responded to the criticism of the bill being anti-religious by stating that the bill does not mention God or religion and that only targets fraudulent practices.
Also, the public and various other scholars and professors came in support of the said bill for its progressive outlook. Professor Shyam Manav, president, Akhil Bharatiya Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ABANS), a major force behind the Bill, refuted the claims of protesters “Under IPC, if anyone is obstructing the work of cops, he can be punished. We have made a comprehensive Bill to weed out crimes against people due to superstition.”
The bill was amended several times before it was finally approved by the Maharashtra Government. Sadly, what today stands as the Act is a much mellowed-down position of the draft bill as presented by Narendra Dabholkar.
Thus the Act aims to do away with the practices of black magic, human sacrifices and other evil and sinister activities going on in the name of religion but, can bring a change only with the support from public and proper enforcement by the police officers.
Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017
Recently, the Karnataka Cabinet has cleared the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017 and is put up before the state legislature for clearance.
The act aims to extirpate ongoing inhuman practices such as black magic, witchcraft, human sacrifice in the name of religion from society. It proposes to put a ban on thirteen ritual practices that are physically harmful or injure the dignity of individuals and communities. From human sacrifice to the violent exorcism of spirits, from using black magic to bring harm to a “third party” to the spatial isolation of pregnant women, this Bill proposes to make thirteen categories of activities culpable as a criminal offence.
Thus, with the advent of The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication Of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 several others states like Karnataka, Assam, Kolkata are also striving to frame laws to prevent activities like human sacrifice, voodooism, cannibalism and black magic acts and to ban any advertisements which instigate and promise instant relief through sorcery in the society.