The Indian Rationalist movement has lost an outstanding fighter against superstition and inhuman rituals ~ Sanal Edamaruku [Rational Association]
Two gunmen on motor bikes murdered Narendra Dabholkar as he took his morning walk today, in the city of Pune. The state government is about to introduce an anti-superstition bill – a measure in no small part because of his efforts over the decades to the cause of rationalism.
He made very clear the bill is not about attacking freedom of religion:
“In the whole of the bill, there’s not a single word about God or religion. Nothing like that. The Indian constitution allows freedom of worship and nobody can take that away …
“This is about fraudulent and exploitative practices.” [BBC News]
His efforts at making sure the bill went through did not go unnoticed by those who want to beguile and extort based on ignorance and charlatanry. He was aware of the lengths they would go to. As Sanal mentions:
The brutal murder of a leading anti-superstition campaigner is an alarm signal. But it is also a sign of the growing importance of our work and our growing influence. Rationalism is on the front foot in India. Fundamentalist exploiters are losing ground. This is their last stand, and they are resorting to medieval means of threat, torture and murder to turn the tide. [Rational Association]
Whether Sanal would be allowed to have his day in court, without unacceptable risk to his safety, is only something he can decide to act on.
He is already having to hide his location. This is unacceptable. Blasphemy laws are a suppression of free thought and expression.
When blood is the answer from those supporting superstition and trickery, we in the rationalist cause must do what we can to show solidarity.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog