Madurai Collector K Veera Raghava Rao has intervened to stop a local ritual at a temple involving 7 half-naked minor girls by the local priests.
In a bizarre practice, as first reported by a local website Covoi Post, a group of seven young girls are decked up like goddesses with no clothes on their upper body and only jewellery to cover their chest. The criteria of selection of girls is that they mustn’t have attained puberty.
The website reported, “Every year a new batch of girls from seven different clans from within the community would be picked for the ritual. Some of these children feel embarrassed that they use their long hair to cover their breasts to avoid stare. There are also, according to a village woman, instances of little goddesses crying unconsolably in fear of being away from home when they are chosen by the priest for the ritual.”
These girls are then expected to spend at least two weeks at the temple in the company of male priests.
The local district administration has now decided to stop the ritual.
Young girls forced to live bare-chested at a temple in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai as part of a bizarre ritual have been spared more indignity after the administration ordered today that they should be allowed to cover their bodies.
Although there haven’t been any complaints of harassment of these girls, Raghava Rao has ordered the girls to be covered with proper clothes to ensure that they are not harassed and there is no scope for abuse.
The idea behind this ritual is that it brings prosperity for the people living in 60 villages in the area.
Madurai has been notorious for bizarre rituals in the past. Many years ago, the age-old ‘child burial’ practice had caused international outrage. Under the ‘child burial’ ritual, childless couple, when blessed with a baby, were expected to bury their new born under one-foot pit for a minute as fulfillment of their vow.
The practice was later banned by the state government under huge condemnation by human rights bodies.