BENGALURU: Huge strides have been achieved in medical science and technology, but the dark tradition of black magic continues to find favour with many across Karnataka. The recent killing of a 10-year-old girl in Magadi near Bengaluru is a pointer to this fact.
Reports of occasional human sacrifices and frequent finding of lemon, chilli and vermilion wrapped in red cloth indicate that there has not been enough awareness to root out the age-old practice.
While black magic has largely lost ground in the state, it is still prevalent in backward districts like Chamarajnagar, Kalaburagi and Ballari. Motives for black magic, sorcery and witchcraft vary from treasure hunting and fixing enemies and rivals to winning over women and elections.
In the towns and villages, where it is practiced, the fear of black magic is so ingrained that people desert their homes and even refuse to drink water in the ‘affected’ areas. People have also fallen sick or died fearing the dark acts performed by these occultists.
During election time, black magic is practiced in a big way. Bizarre rituals are conducted on behalf of political leaders and one can see such happenings at polling booths.
From Bengaluru to Ballari to Kalaburagi, leaders and workers of all political parties have patronised black magic believing it will help them defeat their opponents.
The more serious side of black magic is that it also involves sacrifice of human beings in some instances. In March 2015, two Dalit farm labourers were beheaded in Santhemaralli in Chamrajnagar district. There have been other cases too. But they are usually registered by the police as unnatural deaths. Another macabre tradition —Bhanamati—still prevails mainly in Karnataka and Telangana.
In October last year, black magic practitionser dug up the grave of Veerupakshappa Sajjan, father of communist leader M B Sajjan, at Fartabad village in Kalaburagi taluk and took off the skull and left hand of the body for black magic. M B Sajjan lodged a police complaint, but so far the offenders have not been traced. In January 2015, residents of Sukrunaik Tanda of Chincholi taluk deserted the village fearing Bhanamati.
The fear of black magic is not uncommon in certain pockets of Chitradurga district too. Mallurahalli, a tiny village in Challakere taluk ,is part of occult folklore. People fear even to drink water at the village as a group of priests are believed to have been practicing black magic for many years.
(With inputs from Ramkrishna Badseshi, Subash Chandra and Marx Tejaswi)