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NHRC acts on topless-women ritual in Tamil Nadu

NHRC acts on topless-women ritual in Tamil Nadu

New Delhi: The National Rural Health Mission, NHRC, has issued notices to the government and police chiefs of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh over the alleged inhumane treatment being given to girls and women in the temples.

The young girls and women are forcibly taken to temples as part of a ritual that resembles the banned ‘Devadasi’ system, which is still present in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

They are taken to temples of goddess Mathamma for “offering” in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu and the nearby places, the Commission said, while observing that allegations made in the complaint as well as a media report about the continuance of this practice are “serious in nature”.

As per a report by News18, the NRHC has sought a report in four weeks by issuing notices to the chief secretaries and the director general of police of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and to the district magistrates and superintendents of police of Thiruvallur and Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.

“Allegedly, as part of the ritual, the girls are dressed up as a bride and once the ceremony is over, their dresses are removed by five boys, virtually leaving them naked. They are denied to live with their families and have the education. They are forced to live in Mathamma temple deemed to be like a public property and face sexual exploitation,” the National Human Rights Commission said.

Also Read: Bizarre rituals: Half naked girls in Madurai Temple ‘worshipped’ like Goddesses

This practice looks like another form of Devadasi system, which is still practised in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, it said in a statement.

Devadasi system is a banned religious practice in some parts of India. As a part of the ritual, parents marry their daughter to a deity or a temple. The marriage usually occurs before the girl reaches puberty. Previously as well, there have been allegations of sexual exploitation in the name of ritual.

The Union Home Ministry in December 2015 had urged all states to act strongly against those involved in the heinous practice which is against the dignity of women.