When the whole nation is in a movement to eradicate superstitions, senior Shiv Sena leader and Aurangabad MP Chandrakant Khaire racked up controversies while addressing a health camp in Aurangabad on Saturday, claiming that he could have saved late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan if he would have been allowed to touch him on his deathbed.
Akhil Bhartiya Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti President Shyam Manav expressed, “Chandrakant Khaire is a public representative and such superstitious statements in public is highly problematic. The government should think about this incident and take action accordingly. Khaire’s claims can give a boost to superstition in the state. Maharashtra has Sena-BJP government; hence, there might not be any action taken against him.”
Khaire, who has created multiple controversies before, further insisted that “faith works wonder in healing”. He claimed to have saved the lives of many and as per him, Mahajan’s case is the only one where he failed. “Just like the doctors have the knowledge, we have the power of goodwill. I am not saying this out of superstition, this really works,” stated Khaire. Sharing how he saves lives, he was quoted saying, “I feel the pulse of the person, chant secret mantra, and heal the person.” “I had reached Mumbai after hearing about the attack on Pramod Mahajan but I was not allowed to enter the hospital or to touch the leader,” he recalled. Senior Congress leader and former Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe, said, “Chandrakant Khaire has given a wrong statement and he should not further repeat this. He is a prominent leader and such statements from him sound like a joke.”
The anti-superstition activists across the state and nation have condemned Khaire while Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti termed his claims “worse than the Bengali Babas who cheat people”. Referring to Maharashtra’s legislation against such kinds of cheating, the activists are demanding immediate action against Khaire. Talking with Afternoon Voice, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) Activist Hamid Dabholkar said, “Khaire’s claims are scientifically baseless. Maharashtra follows the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act and it is the duty of the Aurangabad Police to take action against Khaire under the prevailing act.”
He further added, “Khaire, an elected representative, is making such baseless claims to capture the vote bank before state and general elections. It sounds shocking from an elected MP who takes an oath to abide by the Constitutional values. Indian Constitution clearly mentioned that it is the duty of every Indian citizen to propagate the scientific temperament and Khaire’s statement is an absolute contradiction to the scientific affirmation.”
Pramod Mahajan’s estranged brother Pravin shot him with his licensed Browning pistol inside the former’s apartment in Mumbai in the morning of April 22, 2006, following a dispute. Four bullets were fired. While the first one missed Mahajan but the other three were lodged in his liver and pancreas damaging several internal organs. Mahajan was taken to the Hinduja Hospital where he was treated by a liver specialist. However, after struggling for 12 days, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died on May 3, 2006.
Khaire also claimed that when Gopinath Munde requested him to do something to save Mahajan, he had handed over a pouch of Vermillion to Rahul Mahajan, son of Pramod Mahajan, and asked him to keep it under his pillow. “Mahajan could struggle for 12 days for his life in hospital despite being shot by his brother from a point-blank range all because of the Vermillion from Ambabai Temple which was placed below the pillow and under his head,” Khaire avowed. Shiv Sena MLA Sadanand Sarvankar said, “Chandrakant Khaire’s statement is hilarious. All human beings have individual belief systems. I have not experienced any special powers from Vermillion. The government will take the needed action against him.”
The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013, is a criminal law originally drafted by the anti-superstition activists and the founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) Narendra Dabholkar in 2003. The Act criminalises practices related to black magic, human sacrifices, use of magic remedies to cure ailments, and other such acts. However, since its inception, the act was opposed by various religious groups.
BJP MLA Sangita Thombare said, “Chandrakant Khaire has given a wrong statement about Pramod Mahajan and we oppose this. He was a senior BJP leader and we respect him. Mahajan was under medical supervision in his last days and Chandrakant Khaire should stop giving such statements. I don’t think I can give an opinion whether any action should be taken against such statement or not.”
By Aabid Ali & Gautam Korde