Minor girls in India were stripped naked and made to walk the streets carrying wooden sticks on their shoulders, on which the frogs were hanging. A couple of videos also went viral on social media but quickly disappeared because of disturbing content. The incident occurred in the Bundelkhand village in Madhya Pradesh (MP) which has been currently struck by at least three different kinds of droughts. According to reports, making minor girls parade naked is a part of a ritual to summon rains. Locals believe that this would please the rain god who would reward them with rainfall. Many have bashed the ritual and its followers for demonstrating little girls like this. Reportedly, there were six girls around the age of 5.
Were the Girls Forced to Parade Naked?
MP Police is investigating the incident but it did not receive any formal complaints. They stated to only take action if girls were forced to parade naked. The deleted videos also showed a group of women who sang ceremonial hymns following the naked girls. Reports also said that the parents agreed for their kids to be used in this ritual and even participated in it as well.
The demonstrators collected food grains from every house in the village for allegedly donating to the local temple’s community kitchen. The district administration told the media that it tried to educate the locals about the superstition but they kept on believing it will work.
What about Child Protection in India?
India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) asked the administration for a report detailing what action it took against those who made children parade naked. It also demanded the age certificate for each victim within 10 days.
District admin told the media that they will be preparing the report soon. Meanwhile, social media users kept expressing their disappointment at how can humans still exhibit pre-evolution behavior. Many were shocked to learn that for some people the rain god was a pedophile who loved to watch naked little girls.
Drought Crises in Bundelkhand
Predominant drought in the region had wide-ranging implications including the collapse of agriculture, socio-economic structure, and livelihoods. These conditions have caused the villagers to lose their rights and entitlements. As the community grew poorer and poorer the capitalistic institutions for the district pulled back on their services. According to the reports, the service providers, line departments, political systems, and banks have not been serving properly to the poor community. Such factors are forcing villagers to either migrate, commit suicide, put their kids in child labor, or take up risky jobs that may pose danger to themselves and others. Poor or lower caste communities in India are often subjected to torture, abuse, murder, and other heinous crimes. Last year a gang rape of a Dalit girl caused protestors to raise this societal issue.
Agriculture in India largely depends on the monsoon rain and people from several regions believe in different rain gods to whom they devote their rituals. Some communities hold fire rituals, while some marry frogs and donkeys, all to appease the rain god. Cynics believe that these are mere excuses for the people to avoid hardship but according to cultural experts, it might be an act of desperation from those who do not know where to find the solution for their problem.