This Article is From Apr 09, 2012

Young children thrown from top of temple in Karnataka ritual

Bangalore: As hundreds of people gather, young children are thrown from the top of a 30-foot temple. This is as an annual ritual in Karnataka's Bagalkot district that was conducted on Monday and yesterday.

Locals believe this brings health and luck to newborns. Most of the infants tossed in the air are less than two years old.  People hold up blankets to catch the tumbling babies.

Video footage from the Digambeshwara temple festival in the Nagrala village shows a man sitting atop the bedecked temple, tossing the infants into the arms of the crowds waiting below. 

One by one the children are handed over to the man who then casually tosses them down. When a frightened child holds on to the kurta of the man, he disengages the baby's grip with his mouth and then tosses him down. Many of the infants are seen crying on camera.

Devotees say they are willing to risk the obvious and considerable danger. "District Administration officials have tried to stop this practice, but despite wanting to stop, our religious beliefs pull many of us to this ceremony every year," says Shankar.

Local officials say that they have tried to educate people to the need to curb this practice. They say that because the ritual does not involve the breaking of any law, the police cannot intervene.