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Deccan Herald » District » Full Story

Fake astrologer falls into rationalists’ trap

‘Such people use many tools to exploit the unsuspecting masses. Anything that goes against basic laws of science cannot hold its ground’

A person went to a specialist in astrology and palmistry near Hamilton Circle in Mangalore on Thursday seeking some remedy for his problems. After giving a patient hearing, the astrologer, Pandith M Hanumanth Rao Joshi, asked the person to come on Friday evening with Rs 5,500 promising him total remedy to his problems.

The ‘authenticity’ of the astrologer was made public when the person none other than Rationalist Dr Narendra Nayak walked into Joshi’s office along with a dozen media persons including the BBC crew.

Though initially Joshi tried to assert that what he had said was right, he later admitted that his predictions were partially right. Finally, he agreed that he was conning people to make a living as he had five children.

Speaking to media persons, Dr Narendra said Joshi’s modus operandi was to ask his customer to write down the number of children, brothers etc in a tiny slate and to keep it with him. By then he will observe the hand movement. Later, he will accurately say the number of brothers, sisters etc... and the customers will be conned.

Hailing from Bagalkot district, Joshi, before coming to Mangalore was ‘offering his services in astrology’ in Tumkur, Bangalore and Bagalkot.

Speaking to reporters, he admitted that he used to charge anywhere between Rs 100 and Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 for his services including poojas and homas. He also admitted of receiving Rs 300 from a lady police sub inspector in Mangalore some days ago for giving some ‘advice’ to her.

“Such people use many tools to exploit the unsuspecting masses. Anything that goes against basic laws of science cannot hold its ground,” said Dr Nayak who is also an assistant professor of biochemistry at the Centre for Basic Sciences in Kasturba Medical College Mangalore.

Though rationalist movement was picking up in coastal region, there were equal number of people who were falling prey to such people, he opines.

Dr Nayak, the secretary for the Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association, so far had conducted more than 1,500 such demonstrations all over India to expose the myths behind the so-called miracles and debunk superstitions.

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