Kerala govt directs authorities to stop blood offering ritual in temple

Kerala govt directs authorities to stop blood offering ritual in temple

Amid outrage over the announcement of a blood-offering ritual at a temple in Vithura in Thiruvananthapuram district, the CPM-led state government has intervened, stating it would not allow the "primitive" ritual to be held.

Administrators of the Deviyode Srividwari Vaidyanatha Temple had announced that between March 12 and 23, as part of the upcoming 'Kaaliyoottu' festival, blood would be collected from the devotees for the raktha abhishekam and used to bathe the idol of Kaali, the temple's presiding deity.

A scanned image of the festival schedule has been doing its social media rounds for the past couple of days, setting off debates on regressive religious practices causing a blemish on Kerala's progressive credentials.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said on Wednesday that the attempt to revive primitive rituals in Kerala was both a shame and threat for the state.

The minister has directed Thiruvananthapuram Rural District police chief and the district collector to initiate action against the proposed ritual.

"The temple is already facing a complaint over raktha abhishekam and other similar rituals. The government proposes stringent action against the temple committee officials," Surendran said.

The programme schedule mentions that small quantities of blood would be collected by "government-approved experts" using disposable syringes.

The minister said the event had the backing of a fundamentalist organisation and urged the public to raise its voice against such retrograde rituals.

Police sources said the ritual could be a first for the temple in Vithura, about 30 km from the capital city.

"We've already directed the festival coordinators to cancel the event and a notice in this connection has been sent to the organisers. Any violation of the directive will attract police action," P Ashok Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram Rural District SP, told DH.

The 'Kaaliyoottu' festival is scheduled to be held at the temple between March 11 and 24.

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