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Spare the Rod

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In September, engaging in a 300-year tradition of the Dussera holiday in India's Tamil Nadu state, Hindu priests ritually whipped 2,000 young women and girls over a five-hour period as penance for a range of sins, from insufficient studying to moral impurity. Said one sobbing yet inspired lash recipient, to an NDTV reporter, "(W)hen we are whipped, we will get rid of our mental and physical ailments and evil spirits."

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