Minor girls paraded naked: In Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh district a group of girls over the age of five was allegedly made to walk naked and beg door-to-door, while carrying stick on their shoulders which had a frog tied to its end. As strange as it may sound, this ritual was carried out in a village named Baniya, which lies some 50 kilometers from Damoh district headquarter. The ritual was reportedly carried out to appease rain god as the area seems to be hit by a draught.
Two videos of the incidents have surfaced so far, in which atleast six girls can be seen walking through the village, without a shred of clothing on their body, going around door-to-door, begging for pulses, flour and other staples that was to be used to cook food and conduct a “bhandara” in the village. The group is followed around by women who sing bhajans.
According to latest updates in the case, the police have filed a case against people including six women. They are charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Juvenile Justice Act on late Thursday night, Damoh Superintendent of Police (SP) DR Teniwar told PTI.
As per an India Today report, it was mandatory for all villagers to participate in this ritual, which took place on Sunday, September 5. In one of the videos circulating online, a woman can be seen saying that the ritual will hopefully protect theÂ paddy crop in Baniya, which was dying in absence of rain. “We believe that this will bring in rains,” she can be heard saying.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights took cognizance of the matter and demanded a report on the same from Damoh district administration. DR Teniwar, who is Superintendent of Police, Damoh revealed that the police was investigating the incident. While it is being said that the ritual was performed with consent of the girls’ families, Teniwar said, “Action will be taken if it is found that girls were forced to walk naked.”
According to Damoh’s district collector, S Krishan Chaitanya, none of the villagers complained about the incidents. He also added that in cases like this, the administration can only make the villagers aware about the futility of such superstitions.