SHRC seeks report on devotees beaten up during ritual

State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has on its own registered a case in connection with the 'beating up' of devotees during 'theyyam' near here. Theyyam is a ritual art form in which the performer, believed to be possessed by God, thrashes devotees and no one would complain.

SHRC member K Mohandas told PTI on Sunday that he has asked the collector and the district police chief to submit within 30 days a report on the incident.

"The commission took suo motu case after media reports and videos went viral. However, there were no complaints, though many people were injured during ritual with some having had their hands broken," he said.

"We have sought a report from the collector and the district police chief, based on which we will consider further action," Mohandas said.

The incident occurred on November 2 at the Arayil Devi Temple at Kanhangad near here.

A Moovalamkuzhi Chamundi Theyyam was seen in the video chasing the devotees and beating them.

When contacted, an official of the Pathinal Nagaram Kshetra Samrakshana Samithi, a major committee that manages the temple affairs, told PTI that the beating was part of the ritual.

"It's a ritual that the Theyyam goes around and beats the people up. It's considered as a blessing. But these days, some youth try to provoke the performer. The performer is considered to have been possessed by God," the official said.

He said people would never complain against the beating.

The Theyyam rituals in the region are performed by Scheduled Caste and backward communities such as Vannan, Malaya and Pulaya.

There are nine communities members of which have the traditional right to perform the ritual. 

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