Indian state outlaws black magic

AFP-JIJI

An Indian state government has passed legislation banning superstition and black magic, a day after a prominent champion of the bill was shot dead.

Atheist Narendra Dabholkar, who for years campaigned for such a law, was killed Tuesday by two gunmen on motorbikes in the city of Pune in the western state of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved the law, which was first mooted back in 1995. “An ordinance will be promulgated in the next two days,” a state official said. An ordinance requires approval by the state assembly to become permanent.

News on the bill came amid a strike Wednesday in Pune to protest at Dabholkar’s killing that saw 90 percent of the city’s firms and shops close. Further protests were held in the state capital, Mumbai.

“There is no progress” on the investigation into Dabholkar’s death, police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol said.

The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill outlaws exploitative activities by charlatans preying on the vulnerable.