18 yrs and activist's murder later, state approves ordinance to check black magic

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A day after anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in Pune, the Maharashtra cabinet Wednesday decided to issue an ordinance to empower the government to deal with black magic more sternly. The government has been sitting on a Bill to prevent and eradicate black magic for almost 18 years now.

"As soon as the minutes of this cabinet meet are ratified next week, we will start the process for bringing in the ordinance. We have asked the Law and Judiciary Department to work on the ordinance and it will be sent to the Governor for promulgation," a cabinet minister said.

The contents of the ordinance will be similar to the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill. The Bill was cleared by the cabinet in 2011 but could not be cleared in the legislature due to sustained opposition from Shiv Sena and BJP.

The minister said the government would look to convert the ordinance into an Act during the winter session in Nagpur. The ordinance will make performing rituals, charms, magical cures and propagating black magic a punishable offence. The punishment can be up to seven years in jail.

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