Kochi: A Kerala man who performed the role of an oracle during a temple ritual has been arrested on the charge of driving a woman to suicide by shaming her in public.
Called ‘Komaram’ in Malayalam, an oracle acts as mediator between deity and devotee during some temple rituals in Kerala. The pronouncements made by Komarams during such festivals are considered prophetic by devotees.
Sreekanth Karanath, a young man who served as an oracle at a temple ritual at Manaloor in Thrissur, was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by the woman’s husband and brother.
Police said a case has been filed under the Indian Penal Code Section 306.
During a performance on February 25, the man allegedly shamed the 32-year-old mother of two by accusing her of leading an immoral life. He alleged that the woman has had an illicit relationship and wanted her to make a public confession to the deity.
According to the complaint, the incident caused deep mental agony to the woman. The woman’s family suspect that Sreekanth Karanath was instigated to it by a close relative.
Activists of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), anti-superstition organization, visited the woman’s house on Sunday.
“Since it is an incident involving faith and rituals, no one was ready to question the man. It is unfortunate that such incidents are happening even now in a state like Kerala. Had somebody questioned or stopped the oracle during the ritual, the woman’s life could have been saved. Her husband told me that though he tried to console her, she was mentally shattered. Strict action should be taken against the oracle and the one who instigated him,” said T Sathyanarayanan, Thrissur district secretary of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat.