Gujarat Ministers Under Fire for Promoting Exorcism, Not Scientific Temper

Article 51A (h) of the Indian constitution says it shall be a fundamental duty of all citizens “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.”

Screengrab of Gujarat ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Atmaram Parmar at exorcists’ function. Credit: TV9

Ahmedabad: Two Gujarat cabinet ministers waded into a controversy after they attended a felicitation function of exorcists in Botad district.

The event was held on June 10 and the issue came to the fore on Sunday after a video of the event went viral on social media.

As per the invitation card, the event was organised by the local BJP unit at a temple in Gadhada town of Botad district yesterday.

In the video, Gujarat education and revenue minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama along with local MLA and state social justice and empowerment minister Atmaram Parmar can be seen on the the dais watching a couple of exorcists beating themselves with metal chains to live music near the stage.

Later, around 100 exorcists can be seen shaking hands with the ministers on the stage as part of their felicitation.

Article 51A (h)  of the Indian constitution – which ministers take an oath to uphold when they assume office – says it shall be a fundamental duty of all citizens  “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.”

Taking strong exception to the ministers’ presence at the event, prominent rationalist Jayant Pandya said he would write to the chief minister Vijay Rupani to stop ministers from attending events that promote superstition.

“This is for the first time I have seen ministers attending such an event, where exorcists were felicitated.

“This is very shameful. I will write to the CM to stop government functionaries from attending such programs which spread superstition” said Pandya, who heads the NGO ‘Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha’.

However, unfazed by the controversy, Chudasama said that those present on the occasion were “worshipers of divine power”.

“I attended the programme because it was a gathering of worshipers of divine power, not those who spread superstition,” Chudasama said, when asked by reporters why he had attended.

(With inputs from The Wire)