The editor of a news outlet on Wednesday claimed to have received threats after it reported on a supposed ritual followed at a temple in Madurai in Tamil Nadu. According to the exposé by The Covai Post, young girls were being made to live bare-chested with a priest at the temple.

Its report said the practice was said to be an ancient ritual, in which a priest selects seven girls in their teens and pre-teens to live in the temple for a fortnight. The girls cover their upper body only with jewellery and flowers.

The Covai Post reported and published clips of the ritual on Sunday, after which the district collector formed an inquiry committee.

However, the website is now being bombarded with threatening phone calls, abuses and hate calls, the Hindustan Times reported.

“I had to switch off my phone as there was a volley of life threats and several hate calls ever since we posted the story and the Madurai district administration reached the spot to probe,” The Covai Post Editor-in-Chief Vidyashree Dharmaraj was quoted as saying.

She has lodged a complaint with the Coimbatore Police.

“There were also several attempts to hack our website,” Vidyashree told The News Minute. “We received threats saying that our site will be shut down unless we take down the story.”

However, the website has refused to retract the story.