In a strange ritual, more than 2,000 women including school-going teen-aged girls, who were believed to be ‘possessed’ by evil spirits were given vicious whip lashes to “free them from these bad elements” at the annual festival of the ancient Sri Achappan Temple at Bavithram Vellalapatti, a remote village situated on the border of Tiruchi and Namakkal districts, on Monday, the Vijayadasami Day.
The men priests, dressed in traditional attire, cracked whips on the ‘possessed’ women, the salvation seekers, who sat in a half-kilometre-long queue for nearly five hours on a sprawling open space called ‘lashing ground’ near the temple.
Many of them were young school and college-going girls, who winced when they received the lashes and writhed in pain on the ground. The long and wieldy whips, which descended on them in full ferocity, had left them gasping for breath, causing burning marks of wounds on them and forcing them to sob and cry in searing pain. Many were given three to four flogs to drive away the ‘multiple spirits’ that possessed them.
Depths of Tamas!!!