I learnt today that “evil spirits”, whatever they are, like to reside only in women. Not in men, and certainly not in male priests.
I learnt that anyone can diagnose at a glance that a woman has “evil spirits” in her. I wonder how one trains for this, but no diplomas seem to be necessary.
Also, once someone “diagnoses” evil spirits in a woman, those spirits will have to be removed.
Most importantly, apparently, the only way to dislodge the evil spirits is to whip said women multiple times.
The women themselves have no say in any of this, from the “diagnosis” to the “cure”. They are flogged against their will. (What, the very idea! You need permission from an evil spirit-possessed-woman?)
This whole flogging is part of a “festival” and happens, of all places, at a temple. Did I mention that the women are flogged by a male priest?
This practice is not criminal because “It is a belief of devotees and the practice is in vogue for long. We cannot alter [that].” Yes, that was the priest.
More than 2000 women were publicly flogged in a Hindu temple near Namakkal, Tamil Nadu.
In the photo of the incident above, you can see that there were at least two policemen on the scene. One was controlling the crowd. The other was watching (is he grinning or is that a grimace?)
But neither of them seem to have thought it necessary to prevent the proceedings.
Besides, the presence of police seems to imply that they had advance warning? What, really, is the administration doing about this?