'Thee Chamundi Theyyam': Kerala HC directs govt to propose steps to ensure children are not compelled to perform

Thee Chamundi Theyyam performed at Poruvazhy Peruviruthy Malanada Duryodhana Temple in Kollam district. Photo for representational purpose: Manorama

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the secretary of the Women and Child Development Department to file an affidavit detailing the proposed steps taken to ensure children are not compelled to perform 'Thee Chamundi Theyyam'.

Thee Chamundi Theyyam is a ritual performance in which the artist plunges into the burning pyre several times.

A division bench comprising Chief Justices AJ Desai and VG Arun issued the direction while considering the plea filed by an NGO, Disha, which sought a ban on the participation of children in the ritualistic dance performance.

Disha alleged that during the ritualistic performance, also known as 'Ottakolam Theyyam', children are thrown to the embers a minimum of 101 times. The 'theyyam' is organised by Chirakkal Kovilakam and Chirakkal Temple Trust in connection with their annual function.

The matter came to light after a 14-year-old child was made to perform the 'theyyam' in May.

It is alleged that the children selected to perform the Theyyam often belong to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes communities, thus rendering the performance a 'relic of the feudal past'.
(With Live Law inputs)

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