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INDIA / QUIRKY: Priests whip women to ward off evil spirits in southern India

Priests whip women to ward off evil spirits in southern India. In a bid to ward off evil spirits from women, priests in India’s Tamil Nadu state perform a ritual of whipping women in full public view. PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL In a bid to ward off evil spirits from women, priests in Tiruchirapalli district of India’s southern Tamil Nadu state performed a ritual of whipping women in full public view on Friday (October 07). Hundreds gathered to witness the ritual led by traditional dancers performing on drum beats at Achappan temple in Vellapatti village of the district. Women were seen squatting as a priest continued to whip them. The ritual is performed on ‘Vijay Dashami’ or the tenth day of the moon rising that signifies the victory of good over evil and also the Hindu festival of Dussehra. Interacting with mediapersons, locals said that the ritual is performed to benefit people who might be troubled by evil spirits. “Priests at the temple lash women and break coconuts on their heads to ward off evil spirits that might have possessed them. This is not done for money or any other personal gain. The motive of the ritual is to detach women from negative energies. A person is whipped four-five times to completely eliminate any evil spirits. A lot of people believe that this ritual could help them in their personal lives and that is why they come here,” said Ram Kumar, a local. According to local belief the ritual also benefits women with barren wombs.

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Reference: X07101101
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ANI (India)  -   FX / FX
TIRUCHIRAPALLI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA (OCTOBER 07, 2011) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC) EXTERIOR OF A TEMPLE IDOL OF A HINDU GOD HINDU DEVOTEES STANDING IN THE TEMPLE PREMISES A PRIEST OFFERING PRAYERS IDOLS OF HINDU GODS AND GODDESSES A PRIEST OFFERING PRAYERS DEVOTEES STANDING DEVOTEES HOLDING FLAGS AND WALKING DEVOTEES PERFORMING A TRADITIONAL DANCE DEVOTEES BEATING DRUMS A PRIEST WHIPPING WOMEN WOMEN SQUATTING CONTINUOUS WHIPPING IN PROGRESS A WOMAN STANDING ANOTHER WOMAN BEING WHIPPED LOCALS STANDING A PRIEST WHIPPING WHIPPING IN PROGRESS POLICEMEN AND LOCALS LOOKING (SOUNDBITE) (Tamil) RAM KUMAR, A LOCAL, SAYING: “Priests at the temple lash women and break coconuts on their heads to ward off evil spirits that might have possessed them. This is not done for money or any other personal gain. The motive of the ritual is to detach women from negative energies. A person is whipped four-five times to completely eliminate any evil spirits. A lot of people believe that this ritual could help them in their personal lives and that is why they come here.” DEVOTEES SITTING A COCONUT BEING SMASHED ON A DEVOTEE’S HEAD ANOTHER DEVOTEE’S HEAD BEING SMASHED WITH COCONUT

ENDS

Ref: X07101101

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