Child Rights panel suo motu registers case against ‘Kuthiyottam’ ritual

Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights suo motu registered a case with regard to the ‘Kuthiyottam’ ritual held as part of the Pongala festivities at the famed Attukal Devi temple.

Pongala has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the largest gathering of women” based on the 2.5 million turnout in 2009.

The commission, which registered the case on the basis of newspaper reports, said in a statement that it would examine if the ritual violated child rights in any manner.

DGP R. Sreelekha had kicked up a row yesterday by seeking to stop the traditional ritual.

“Kuthiyottam” is a ritual performed by boys below the age of 13 years after observing a seven-day ‘vritham’ (penance) as part of the annual festivities.

The IPS officer said in a blog that the ritual was a “torture” for the boys as they have to go through ‘rigorous mental and physical abuse” during the period.

“Can we call it (the temple) Boy’s Prison Cell?” she asked and said it was time to “stop this yearly crime in the name of faith!”.


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