Siddaramaiah, however, said that the government had not funded the rain ritual.

Siddaramaiah condones ministers rain homa says Anti-Superstition Bill will be tabled soon
news Politics Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 09:25

In an ironic turn of events, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Monday, defended Water Resource Minister, MB Patil’s rain homa, while stating that the government will table the Anti-Superstition Bill in the Assembly once again.

“Personally, I do not pay heed to such rituals but I understand it as the minister organised the event in his own capacity and the government was in no way connected to it,” Siddaramaiah said during the Assembly session on Monday, while reiterating that the Anti-Superstition Bill would soon be tabled.

The Anti-Superstition Bill has been the Chief Minister’s pet project.

Just a few weeks after the Congress was voted to power in 2013, Siddaramaiah had consulted the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at National Law School of India University, and presented the first draft of the bill the same year, ToI reported. 

The bill outlined 13 superstitious practices across various communities in the state. But this bill was benched four times due to protests from right-wing religious groups and political parties including the BJP. Some of the Congress leaders too had questioned the need for the law stating that is was not a poll promise made by the party, the report adds.

In 2016, after severe pressure from seers, rationalists and writers, the bill was re-introduced in the Vidhana Sabha as the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and Other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2016. 

The new draft prohibited 23 practices, including torture and display of alleged miracles to earn money. It was then referred to the cabinet sub-committee headed by Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, after many Congress legislators objected to the contents of the draft, as they feared it would hurt religious sentiments of the people constituting their vote bank.

The BJP too, had come down strongly on the draft bill. Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar, who raised the issue while making the preliminary submission on drought, mocked the ruling party for allocating Rs 20 lakh to the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam for conducting homas at rivers Talacauvery and Krishna for a good monsoon but withdrawing the funding after receiving severe flak from the media. 

“It is a shame that Siddaramaiah, who claims to be a rationalist and socialist has failed to control his cabinet and is indulging in their superstitious beliefs. If homas could bring rains, why should the state government spend crores of rupees on irrigation projects. Let it invest money in yagnas and homas, which will guarantee rainfall. This will also save the exchequer a lot of money,” Shettar ridiculed Siddaramaiah. 

Both the Congress and the JD(S) took a dig at BJP for making an issue out of Patil’s homa. 

“Who went across the country carrying bricks to build Ram Temple at Ayodhya? Who gave an elephant to a temple,” asked JD(S) member KM Shivalinge Gowda, referring to BS Yeddyurappa's gift to a Kerala temple after becoming CM in 2008. 

“Who distributed Gangajal at temples?“ said a Congress member, referring to former BJP muzarai minister Krishnaiah Setty serving the water at all temples in the state for Mahashivarathri in 2010.

 

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