The Supreme Court of Nepal has ordered an inquiry into whether the centuries-old tradition of worshiping a virgin girl as a “living goddess”—called the Kumari Devi—has led to the exploitation of young girls and violates their human rights.
The order came after a child rights lawyer, who says she only wants to reform the tradition, not abolish it, filed a petition. Other activists have lodged their own court case aimed at keeping the tradition unchanged.
Traditionally, the young girl chosen to be deified as Kumari comes from the country’s Buddhist community, even though she is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the Hindu goddess Taleju. Once the girl meets strict criteria and passes certain tests, she is worshiped as a goddess by both Hindus and Buddhists until she reaches puberty, when she is replaced by another girl.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).