For many years, CFIC has condemned faith-based violence; with the August 2015 murder of Indian scholar M.M. Kalburgi and ongoing superstitious attacks of vulnerable persons such as people with albinism and children, CFI Canada also calls for a condemnation of superstition-based violence as well.  In response to the often-spoken question, “What’s the harm of superstition?”, these cases provide ample demonstration of the most egregious results of superstitious belief.  CFIC is also tracking issues of superstitious attacks on people with albinism in Africa – see the documentation here.


Ujjain, India – October 14, 2015

A 40-days old infant is branded with a hot iron as a “cure” for breathing problems.


Andhra Pradesh,India – October 6, 2015

A 4-year old boy is strangled and beheaded in a superstitious ritual.


Dharwad, India – August 30, 2015

As reported in The Hindu, social activist Siddanagowda Patil has urged the Indian government to pass anti-superstition legislation:

The assassination of Kalburgi and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare reflects the growing intolerance towards intellectual freedom in Indian society. It was unfortunate that some functionaries of the right-wing organisations had posted certain messages in social media in support of the assassination of Kalburgi, he said.

Right to dissent was a precious privilege enjoyed by all citizens in democracy. For Kalburgi, research work was not a mere intellectual exercise, but a means to question the myths propagated by certain vested interests on Kannada culture, and thereby re-construct the Kannada identity, he said, and termed the murder of Kalburgi an assault on democracy. The civil society should get united and condemn Kalburgi’s killing, he said.

M.M. Kalburgi was assassinated on August 30, 2015.  Kalburgi was a well-known as a critic of idol-worship.  A pattern of attacks on rationalists in India is linked in right-wing Hindu organizations.


Nepal – July 24, 2015

10-year old Jivan Kohar was murdered by a group of Nepalese men in a ritual intended to heal one of the men’s ailing sons – as urged by a local “holy man”.  As reported by CNN,

The village, in the Nawalparasi district bordering India, is home to some of the country’s poorest and uneducated people — often known as “untouchables” in the traditional caste system. Both the victim and the accused in this recent killing are from this social class.

Superstitions such as the sacrificial slaughter of animals such as water buffaloes, goats and chickens are common among the country’s mainly Hindu population. The ritual killing of animals during the Gadhimai festival — celebrated every five years — takes place in the belief it will bring prosperity.




Further Inquiry