| 24 Nov 2003 @ 12:07|
Indo-Asian News Service, November 11, 2003
Union Minister of State for Human Resources Sanjay Paswan faces possible arrest after an NGO complained to the police, charging him with promoting witchcraft.
Police sources here said its officers had been ordered to collect evidence in this connection and the minister's arrest could not be ruled out.
Paswan had felicitated 51 practitioners of witchcraft at a function here in September to mark the birth anniversary of former chief minister Bhola Paswan.
However, Sanjay Paswan justified his action, saying witchcraft was "pure science" - a comment that angered people across the country. He also vowed to introduce a course on witchcraft in schools.
The Bihar unit of the International Association of People's Lawyers lodged a complaint with the Gandhi Maidan police station to stop the function, but it was held nevertheless. The complaint was directed at Paswan as well as all those he felicitated, including Mumbai-based Surya Yogi, a practitioner of sun yoga.
Critics accused the minister of violating the Prevention of Witch Practices Act, 1999, of Bihar. Bihar Police are also to act on a public interest litigation filed against Paswan's function by a women's organisation in the Patna High Court.