The editor-in-chief of news website Coimbatore has complained that she has been receiving threatening calls ever since it ran a story on a ritual of Madurai village, reported Hindustan Times.
The ritual involves a “half-naked” teenaged and younger girls 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 then remain bare-chested and cover their upper body only with flowers and jewelry. 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 that there was no evidence of harassment or abuse inside the temple. The website was instantly bombarded with threatening phone calls, hate speech and abuse.
“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.
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