Kochi: The High Court on Wednesday directed the Kannur district collector to ensure children do not participate in the customary dance ritual of 'Thee Chamundi Theyyam', commonly seen in the northern districts of Kerala.
Theyyam is a traditional religious ritualistic practice in the state and 'Thee Chamundi Theyyam' is one such form of Theyyam.
The division bench of Chief Justice S V Bhatti and Justice Basant Balaji also directed the district collector to get instructions on the arguments made in the petition which was filed challenging the involvement of children in the ritual.
The court directive came after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition was filed by Dhisha Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), contending that children selected for participating in the dance were thrown into the fire embers at least 101 times, thereby affecting the children's well-being.
The plea stated that the issue came to the fore when a 14-year-old child was found to be a performer in a Thee Chamundi Theyyam held by the Chirakkal Kovilakam and Chirakkal Temple Trust.
The PIL submitted that the children selected to perform in the dance are from a backward community and are a reminder of the feudal past.
The NGO had informed the court that they had submitted representations before the relevant authorities, including the Central and state governments but did not receive any response.
(With IANS inputs)