Parents – Looking for a fun sleep-away camp where naked old men dress up your boy in drag, mutilate him, and smear dirt in the wound? Book now!
A Hindu temple ritual in which boys aged between five and 12 years are pierced with metal hooks is stirring controversy in India after a senior police officer spoke out against it. Sreelekha Radhamma, chief of prisons, called it “rigorous mental and physical abuse” in a blog post on 27 February… [more]
Chief of Prisons Sreelekha Radhamma’s full blog post is not to be missed:
For 1000 odd boys, it’s torture time in Attukal now. Parents conspire with temple authorities to put their children through rigorous mental and physical abuse for five days where boys from the age of 5 to 12 are made to wear just a loin cloth, submerge in cold water thrice daily, eat measly morsels squatting on the floor and sleep on the bare temple ground. Yes, recite mantras and obey blindly their leaders too. They are not allowed to see their parents during this time.
And on the final day, each of them will be decked up with yellow cloths, garlands, jewellery and make up on face including lipstick and made to stand in a queue for their last unexpected torture. An iron hook, tiny though it is, will be pierced into their skin on their flanks. They scream. Blood comes out. A thread will be symbolically knotted through the hooks to symbolise their bond with divinity. Then hooks are pulled out and ash roughly applied on the wounds!
Causing physical and mental pain to children are offences under sections 89, 319, 320, 349, 350, 351 of Indian Penal Code. The Juvenile Justice Act and the Child Welfare Commission Act penalises it.
In the beautiful coffee table Book of my friend Lekshmy Rajeev, “Attukal Amma- the goddess of millions”, there is mention that this crude practice is still followed in the temple because the authorities believe that “Devi likes blood!” [much, much more…]