Villagers get ready for Udusalamma fest ritual

Residents of Hariharapura and neighbouring villages in Holenarsipur taluk are said to have been making preparations for Sidi, a ritual, which involves inserting hooks into human bodies, as part of Udusalamma festival to be held on April 3.

The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act, 2017, that came into effect on January 4, 2020, prohibits rituals that cause physical injury and involve piercing rods into the body. The ritual, which is also known as hook-swinging, involves inserting hooks into the flesh of the backs of people chosen for the ritual. Later they are tied to a long tree trunk, mounted on a wooden pedestal.

Dalits and women

This practice is played out at Hariharapura as part of Udusalamma festival, held once in two years. All those selected to perform the Sidi ritual are Dalits. They have to observe a fast for a week before the festival day. Besides them, many women participate in the procession with their mouth locked by iron hooks.

Tree cutting

In the run-up to the festival, residents of seven neighbouring villages, who all take part in the festival, select the tree under the guidance of the temple priest and cut it in advance. According to sources in Hariharapura, people cut the tree last week and the preparations for the ritual are on.

‘Will seek report’

When this issue was brought to the notice of H.V. Manjunath, Deputy Director of Social Welfare Department, he said he would enquire about the preparations of the ritual.

“I will get a report from the local office and also inform the police to take proper action to stop rituals prohibited as per the law,” he said.

The Deputy Directors of the department are nodal officers to oversee the implementation of the Act.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2021 12:37:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/villagers-get-ready-for-udusalamma-fest-ritual/article34056812.ece

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