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Religious "Baby Throwing" in India

Just another example of the dangerous idiocy one can get away with if the label "religious tradition" is attached to it. I especially call your attention to the last paragraph in the article quoted below. This is a duty?

At least it brings Hindus and Muslims together. How nice.

The Times April 09, 2012 12:00AM

TERRIFIED babies screamed in shock as they were thrown 9m from a temple balcony amid a crowd of dancing worshippers in the southern Indian state last week.

The temple's baby-throwing ritual, an annual event in which infants under two are dropped by a priest and caught in a blanket, has been denounced as "barbaric" by children's rights groups, which have demanded an end to it.

The ceremony is believed by participants to bring good luck, prosperity and health to the children. Footage of last week's event, filmed by an Indian news channel, showed the babies in obvious distress as they plunged towards the ground.

The priest, who was cheered by the crowd every time he dropped a child, did not appear to be paying attention to where they fell. Perched on top of the elaborate Digambeshwara temple in Nagrala village, he pulled away one frightened child who tried to grab his shirt, and then hurled him down.

Close-up images showed the babies' faces crumpling and floods of tears as onlookers passed them back to their mothers.

"I'm absolutely shocked by this," said Lov Verma, of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. He said the ritual was banned last year after complaints, yet it restarted this year. He said his committee would again appeal for government intervention.

"It's not simply the government's job. We need to educate all those who take part in this barbaric practice - the temple priest and the community."

The origins of the ritual, which is believed to have been performed for centuries, are unclear. Muslims and Hindus participate.

Opponents of the ritual have angered worshippers, who believe it is their religious duty to take such risks. A devotee at the Digambeshwara temple, who called himself Shankar, said: "Our religious beliefs pull many of us to this ceremony every year."


MORE BY Tiende Landeplage



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