Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa has been acquitted by the Karnataka High Court six months after she was arrested in a disproportionate assets case. Supporters and fans have been in a frenzy since the arrest; praying for her release then, and celebrating her acquittal now.
Here are six of the most incredible acts that Amma supporters have indulged in:
1) Nailed to a cross
46 year-old karate champion Shihan Hussaini, hung himself from a cross, hammered a nail into his palm and then got his associates to hammer 6 inch nails into his other palm, and ankles. He remained “crucifixed” for six minutes and seven seconds on a wooden cross specially built for him. This happened a day before Jayalalithaa’s 67th birthday.
2) Up in the air
On her 67th birthday, again, supporters pierced their cheeks with spears and attached hooks to their back before hanging themselves up. The latter act is described as paravai-kavadi and is a rare feat enacted during temple festivals. The image below shows a paravai-kavadi at the famous Nallur Murugan temple in Sri Lanka.
3) A baptism by fire in Madurai
Some 2000 cadres including several ministers participated in a special pooja/ritual, carrying around an earthen vessel containing burning embers. Whilst such a ritual is pretty common in many Amman temples of Tamil Nadu, this was perhaps the first instance of it being especially used to ask the Gods to be kind to Amma.
(Ministers watch as a ritual progresses in Madurai, this too was held to propitiate the gods and seek Amma’s quick release/acquittal)
4) Covered in only foliage
In 1996, Sakkubai, MLA of Gummidipoondi, dressed herself up in only neem leaves and went on a procession to Periyapalayattamman temple to pray for Jayalalithaa. A year before that Indira Kumari, a former minister in Jayalalithaa’s cabinet, rolled on the ground, again with only leaves as clothing.
5) A meal eaten off the ground
Ministers C.P. Pattabhiraman and Ammamuthu Pillai, took to eating a meal off the ground in the Vaidudaiam-man temple in Northern Madras. This is a ritual quite common during festival days in many Tamil temples, especially those of female deities.
6) Shaved off
Over a hundred of Jayalalithaa’s followers tonsured their heads while protesting outside the Bangalore Central Jail, where she was incarcerated, demanding she be released. One of them argued that if criminals could be let off on bail, she could be too.
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