Kerala Tourism and Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Wednesday criticised the Deviyodu Sreevidvari Vaidyanatha Temple in Vithura for its purported plan to use human blood in a religious ritual. The temple’s management in rural Thiruvananthapuram is believed to have issued a notice seeking blood donations for “rakthabhishekam” – a ritual that involves bathing goddess Kaali in human blood.

In a post on Facebook, Surendran condemned the ritual, scheduled to be held during the 14-day festival from March 11. “This practice is trying to make a comeback in a state like Kerala that long ago shed primitive practices like human and animal sacrifice,” the minister said in his post, alleging that “communal forces” were involved.

The state police have warned the temple management against conducting the ritual. “We have not registered any case in the matter yet,” Thiruvananthapuram (Rural) Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar told The News Minute. “It is completely illegal, and if they go ahead with it despite our orders, we will take action against them.”

A sub-inspector at the Vithura Police Station told The News Minute that this was the first time the temple had called for blood donations for the ritual. The notice it issued said government-recognised doctors will collect blood from devotees in disposable syringes.