In a strongly worded blog, Ms Sreelekha, who calls herself a devotee, has said she will not be offering her 'pongala' (rice, jaggery, banana and coconut cooked together), this year until children between the ages of 5-12 are saved from getting physically hurt in the name of goddess Attukal Amma.
As part of the annual ritual, around thousand boys aged between five and twelve are made to wear just a loin cloth, submerged in cold water thrice daily, given to eat measly morsels sitting on the floor and made to sleep on the bare floor. This year the ritual will be held on March 2.
"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! All this for temple deity!" wrote Ms Sreelekha.
"He was looking miserable each time I saw him in the crowd of boys. All the boys in wet loin clothes bore the same look of the sacrificial goats of Kamakhya. Poor thing, why did you do this against his wish?" I asked the boy's father. Madam, I didn't tell him about the piercing on the last day. If he knew that he would have run off from home, he replied. It came as a shock to me," Ms Sreelekha's blog said.
The officer also mentioned that though these offences were punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), no one was willing to complain.
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