KOCHI: Claims of being the most progressive state in the country notwithstanding, practices like sorcery and exorcism have been rampant in Kerala.
The death of a four-member family at Vannappuram near Thodupuzha under mysterious circumstances has put the spotlight yet again on the need to curb such obsolete practices.
Though Kerala had planned to bring out a stringent law to curb blind beliefs and rituals, the proposal has lost steam. Primarily, due to a lack of interest among the political class. The Kerala Exploitation by Superstition (Prevention) Act mooted by the Home Department warranted stringent punishment, ranging from three years to capital punishment, for superstitious practices.
However, it has been pushed to the cold storage as the top brass of the administration and politicians believe that such practices cannot be curbed by enacting a law, considering its failure in Karnataka. The death of three persons due to alleged superstitious practices in 2014 had resulted in demands gaining momentum for stringent legislation to curb such activities. As instructed by the government, the then ADGP (Intelligence) A Hemachandran drafted the Bill after reviewing a similar law in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
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It was submitted to the government in August 2014. “We will stage a protest in front of the Secretariat demanding the introduction of the anti-superstition law on August 20,” said Kerala Yuktivadi Sangham general secretary Rajagopal Vakathanam.“This protest is part of the sixth phase of our agitation. A memorandum will be submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard.” The increasing influence of caste and religious outfits in politics, he said, is the main reason for occult practices and superstitious beliefs among people.“Such incidents declare time and again that we are yet to become a secular civil society,” he alleged.
Police probing local people’s witchcraft talk
Idukki: The police are collecting CCTV footage from the cameras kept in front of the nearby shops and bank after some local people informed them that Krishnan used to conduct witchcraft in his secluded house and some people had been visiting him in luxury cars.