PUNE: On November 2 last year, a complaint against Manoj Shivram Mane was filed at Kothrud police station under the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, after Mane claimed ash was falling from a photo of Shree Swami Samarth at his home.
Mane’s home was then visited by several persons after a message about it was circulated on social media. The message stated that a coconut, flower and a Rudraksh chain was also found in a bag near the photo, located at Mane’s house.
Similarly, in December, another message was circulated on social media where a hot water spring in Bhosari was connected to God’s fury.
Such incidents highlight the damage done by social media in spreading superstitious beliefs and so, experts have called for making amendments in the Maharashtra Black Magic Act, so that such incidents can be stopped. Speaking on the issue, Hamid Dabholkar of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti said that the Black Magic Bill, which was proposed earlier did contain the clause of punishment to those involved in spreading such superstitious messages.
“Later, there was opposition and the clause was dropped. It is true that, on social media, the message is replicated multiple times and so, there is a need to change the law and make amendments,” he added.
Dabholkar said that over 1 lakh letters were written to Information and Broadcasting Ministry about the problems of the telecast of superstitious programmes.
“Following this, programmes promoting superstition now come with a ticker for people to raise objections, if they have any, related to the programme. Unfortunately, there is no such provision for social media and so, there is a need for amendments,” added Dabholkar.
Nandini Jadhav of Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti said that the accused in such kind of cases should be booked under the Information Technology Act. “Police should find the person circulating such messages and penalise them,” added Jadhav.