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India's women 'sadhus' form all-female group

Female "sadhus", or holy Hindu women, have broken away from tradition and formed a new all-female group in India that they hope will end male domination of spiritual practices. In the northern city of Allahabad a group of women sadhus formally established their group or "akhada", holding ceremonies on the banks of the River Ganges which is considered sacred by Hindus. Mahant Trikal Bhavanta, a leading woman sadhu, told AFP late Friday that the all-women akhada was believed to be the first in the history of Hinduism in India.

India's women 'sadhus' form all-female group

Female "sadhus", or holy Hindu women, have broken away from tradition and formed a new all-female group in India that they hope will end male domination of spiritual practices. In the northern city of Allahabad a group of women sadhus formally established their group or "akhada", holding ceremonies on the banks of the River Ganges which is considered sacred by Hindus. Mahant Trikal Bhavanta, a leading woman sadhu, told AFP late Friday that the all-women akhada was believed to be the first in the history of Hinduism in India.

Suspects deny harassing British tourist in India: lawyer

Two men appeared in an Indian court Wednesday accused of harassing a British tourist who jumped off her hotel balcony fearing a sex attack, with their lawyer saying they denied the charges. The manager of the three-star Hotel Agra Mahal, Sachin Chauhan, and another member of staff were produced before the local magistrate in the northern city of Agra and were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. Prakash Narayan Sharma, lawyer for the hotel manager, told AFP his client would enter a "not guilty" plea before the court on Thursday and apply for bail.

British woman to leave India after feared sex attack

Indian police said Wednesday that a British tourist who jumped off her hotel balcony to escape a feared sex attack would return home, as two men were set to appear in court over the incident. The victim was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with minor leg injuries sustained as she fled her hotel in the Taj Mahal city of Agra after two men allegedly tried to force their way into her room in the middle of the night.

Briton injured fleeing feared sex attack: Indian police

A female British tourist suffered leg injuries after she jumped out of a hotel window Tuesday over fears of a sex attack in the Indian city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, police said. The victim, who was not named but was in her early 30s, was admitted to hospital by police after she leapt from the first floor when two men tried to enter her room in the Hotel Agra Mahal at around 4:00 am.

British tourist injured fleeing India sex attack: police

A female British tourist was admitted to hospital after jumping through a hotel window Tuesday over fears of a sex attack in the Indian city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, police said. The victim, who was not named but was in her early 30s, suffered leg injuries when she leapt from the first floor after two men tried to enter her room in the Hotel Agra Mahal at around 4:00 am. "She got frightened so she ran to the other end of the room and jumped out of the window," Pawan Kumar, superintendent of police in Agra, told AFP.

120 million wash away sins as India's Kumbh festival ends

The world's biggest religious festival concluded on Sunday with nearly two million pilgrims taking a dip in an Indian holy river that washed away the sins of 120 million people in the last 60 days. The Kumbh Mela, celebrated every 12 years at the conjunction of two sacred rivers on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Allahabad, drew massive crowds of devotees, ascetics and foreign tourists. The two-month-long Kumbh Mela ended on the occasion of Mahashivratri, a major Hindu festival celebrated across India and Nepal.

Record 120 million wash away sins as India festival ends

A record 120 million pilgrims washed away their sins with plunges in an Indian holy river during the world's biggest religious festival set to end Sunday, officials said. The two-month-long Kumbh Mela Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years at the conjunction of two sacred rivers on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Allahabad drew massive crowds of Hindu devotees, ascetics and foreign tourists.

Tent fire kills priest at India's Kumbh festival

A fire at India's massive Kumbh Mela festival killed a Hindu priest in the second deadly tragedy to mar the gathering in a week, officials said on Friday. "Fire broke out in one of the tents when some priests were cooking. The tent caught fire and spread swiftly," said R. S. Rathore, an administrator at the festival in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. "Twenty tents were gutted and one priest has died," he told AFP.

Police face flak over Kumbh Mela tragedy as organiser quits

Survivors of a stampede that killed 36 people at India's Kumbh Mela blamed the tragedy Monday on baton-charging police and the slow response of medics as the massive festival's chief organiser resigned. The crush at a train station on Sunday evening at Allahabad marked a tragic end to the most auspicious day of the 55-day Hindu festival in the state of Uttar Pradesh which had drawn some 30 million people.
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