Govt to keep tabs on astrologers, witchcraft practitioners

Move aimed at checking exploitation of gullible people

Muzrai Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary, on Friday, said his department is ready to provide a forum to discuss ways and means to keep tabs on those who exploit people in the name of astrology, witchcraft and rituals.

The minister was responding to the debate on his decision to frame rules to keep a check on those who indulge in exploitation of innocent people in the name of ‘maata, mantra, pooje.’

The Dharmika Parishat of the Endowment Department, in its meeting on January 3, would decide on involving the public before taking a final decision on amending the Endowment Act or frame rules to curb fooling of people by astrologers and witchcraft practitioners, he said.

“We have been seeing people, especially women, getting duped by fake astrologers. It is time for the government to frame rules to provide justice to people who get cheated. Registration of astrologers, witchcraft practitioners and mantravadis etc., with the government is likely to be made compulsory. I am ready for debate with intellectuals and general public before framing rules,” he said. Though astrology is accepted as science, there should be no room for cheating or exploitation of innocent people. The government must create awareness among people about how
astrologers are conning people to make money, he added.

Made Snana

When his response was sought on the CPM rally against Made Snana, in Udupi, on Thursday, and the lathi charge, he said the government has already taken a decision to allow Made Snana on the ‘naivedya’ (food offered to deity in temple) instead of permitting devotees to roll over leftover food partaken by Brahmins. However, the government’s decision has been stayed by court. “We can’t do much at this point,” he said.

Stating that he had seen the video clippings of protests staged by Sriram Reddy and others before the Udupi temple, he said: “We should not provoke sentiments of any section of society. In democracy, there are ways to bring changes. But we politicians should not instigate people.”

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