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Website gets threat calls over story on half-naked girls in Madurai temple

The story had spurred the local administration to launch a probe which seems to angered many supporters of the temple ritual.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2017 13:41 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Tamil Nadu,Madurai,Temple ritual
A temple in Vellalur village of Madurai district follows this ancient tradition where the priest selects seven girls between ages of 10 and 14 to live in the temple for a fortnight. The girls are forced to remain bare-chested and cover their upper body only with jewellery and flowers.(Covai Post website)

The editor-in-chief of news website in Coimbatore has complained that she has been receiving threatening calls ever since it ran a story on a bizarre ritual in a Madurai village where ‘half-naked’ teenaged and younger girls are forced to live inside a temple under the supervision of a priest.

A temple in Vellalur village of Madurai district follows this ancient tradition where the priest selects seven girls between ages of 10 and 14 to live in the temple for a fortnight. The girls are forced to remain bare-chested and cover their upper body only with jewellery and flowers.

According to the temple’s tradition, the priest selected the seven girls and ‘offered’ them to the deity for a fortnight beginning the last Tuesday in the Tamil month of Aavani. Girls from 62 villages are paraded before the priest of the Yezhaikaatha Amman temple at Velalur before seven are selected.

Soon after the website posted the report as well as a video, the administration swung into action to probe the issue. A committee found that it was an ancient tradition but there was no evidence of sexual abuse or harassment inside the temple.

The website was bombarded with threatening phone calls, abuses and hate calls.

“I had to switch off my phone as there was a volley of life threats and several hate calls ever since we posted the story and Madurai district administration reached the spot to probe,” Vidyashree Dharmaraj, editor-in-chief of Covai Post told Hindustan Times.

She has lodged a formal complaint with the Coimbatore police, giving all the phone numbers from where she received the threatening calls.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 12:49 IST