Karnataka says no to immediate ban on bizarre ritual


Bangalore : Karnataka’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government Friday said while it opposed a ritual in which people rolled over the leftovers of meals eaten by Brahmins at a few temples in the state, it did not favour an immediate ban.

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“It is a matter of belief and cannot be forcibly banned. We are making efforts to educate people against it,” Religious Endowments Minister V.S. Acharya told the state assembly.

He said the government’s move to stop it this time too was opposed by those who wanted to undertake the ritual, which they believe has been in practice for around 500 years.

The ritual, denounced by many as “obnoxious” and “anti-Dalit”, involves rolling over plantain leaves with leftovers of meals eaten by Brahmins, either as fulfillment of a vow or in the belief that it cures skin ailments.

The ritual takes place once a year during the three-day Champa Sashti festival in late November or early December at a temple devoted to Hindu god Subramanya at Kukke, a small town in western Ghats, about 350 km from here. It is also in vogue at one or two temples in nearby Udupi.

State BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa said the party also opposed the practice and asserted that “Hindu society will not accept it”.

His assertion came in the backdrop of accusation by those opposed to the ritual that BJP was reluctant to ban it.