Unpleasant rituals mark Yellamma jathra

DH News Service

The controversial Yellamma jathra is in full swing in Kotanur village of Athani taluk. Among the unpleasant practices include mass animal sacrifice, rituals by semi- clad women and dances. It is also alleged that initiation of Devadasi's into the practice has been going on.

The jathra which has been on for the past three days, was attended by lakhs of people including children from Bijapur, Bagalkot and Maharashtra. Most of them tied neem leaves around their body and sang in praise of Yellamma and performed puja.

''The practice of introducing young women into the Devadasi system by tying 'Muthu' is going on as before and we are making efforts to stop this,'' said social workers from a women welfare organisation. About 70 former Devadasis made efforts to educate the pilgrims against the system by performing street plays and songs.

Athani Legislator Shahjahan Dongargoan, while speaking to Deccan Herald today, said that steps would be taken to curb these practices at the jathra.

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