Six minor girls were paraded naked with heavy wooden shafts on their shoulders tied with frogs to please rain god; locals believe this will bring ample rainfall in drought-hit paddy fields.
At least six minor girls aged around five in a Madhya Pradesh village were stripped and were made to do ritual begging by locals, door-to-door naked to appease the rain god as part of local practice and prevailing superstitions.
The village of Baniya is in Damoh district, where the paddy crops had been dying. The ritual of stripping young girls and parading them with frogs tied on heavy wooden shafts on their shoulders would help overcome the adverse situation.
The villagers said a few local women accompanied them, chanting and bhajans (singing devotional songs) praising the rain god.
The strange-ritual incident was reported on Sunday, September 5, from the village called Baniya in the Bundelkhand region about 50km from the Damoh district headquarters.
The town comes under the Jabera police station area, and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sought a report from the administration in the area about the incident.
Damoh district collector S Krishna Chaitanya has said that the local administration would soon submit information to the NCPCR.
According to a prevalent belief, young girls made for walking naked every year, and a wooden shaft rested on their shoulders, usually with a frog tied to it.
“Police are investigating this incident.” he said, adding that “Actions will be taken if the administration finds that girls got forced to go naked.”
He told the reporters that the villagers there believe that this practice will rain for their paddy fields.
In a statement, the administration informed that the parents of these girls were also involved in the incident.
To make them aware of such superstitious practices. None of the villagers complained regarding the ‘ritual’, the district collector said.
The incident caught the eye on social media as two videos of the same have surfaced. One of the video clips shows girls (aged about 5) with bare bodies without a single drape, walking side by side with a frog tied to a wooden shaft resting on their shoulders.
The girl was surrounded by a group of older women singing bhajans in praise of the God of Rain following the procession of begging food grains door-to-door throughout the village.
A huge Bhandara follows this ritual where the alms collected during the parade get utilized.
It is essential to remove any superstitions when rain is made artificially by seeding the clouds.
The district collector said, “In such cases, the administration can only make the villagers aware about the futility of such superstition”. He added the need to “make them understand that such practices don’t yield desired results”.
According to DR Tenivar, Damoh’s Superintendent of Police, the villagers follow this practice as a ‘ritual’ every year, with the consent from the minors involved, owing to scanty rainfall in the region.
Tenivar said the women from these families prepare their little girls for the ritual who go in the procession of begging naked in the village.
However, the police are probing the matter to ascertain if any child got forced into the act. Tenivar also said that if it were a forced practice, actions against the culprits are unavoidable.