Father Suing a Hindu Temple in Texas After Branding Incident

(PatriotWise.com) — The father of an 11-year-old boy who was branded during a Hindu ceremony last year filed a lawsuit against the Sugar Land, Texas, temple and its parent company, KHOU reported.

In a lawsuit filed in Fort Bend County last week, Vijay Cheruvu said the brand featuring a Hindu god has left his son scarred. He alleged that the boy suffered permanent disfigurement and extreme pain.

The boy’s father said he was “shocked” when he learned of the branding ritual, which he described as an illegal mutilation.

According to Cheruvu’s attorneys, nearly 100 people, including three minors, took part in the ceremony that took place in August last year at the Ashtalakshmi Temple in Sugar Land. Cheruvu’s son was branded with the image of Vishnu on both shoulders with a hot iron rod. The attorneys said the branding was done without the boy’s consent.

Attorney Jen Stogner told Fox 26 in Houston that the boy was told to keep the brands covered and not say anything to anyone.

Cheruvu said that when the severe burns became infected, his son told him what happened.

Cheruvu shares custody of his son with his ex-wife Supriya Rama Sripada. It was she who took the boy to the ceremony. While Sripada did not get branded, 97 others, including her son and two other minors, did.

Cheruvu’s co-counsel, Brant Stogner, said under Texas law, a minor cannot consent to being scarred or burned, nor can a parent consent on the child’s behalf.

Fox 26 reported that the boy’s mother was charged with injury to a child but the grand jury returned no bill of indictment.

Stogner said the ritual branding ceremony is not commonly done in Hinduism but is practiced by a “very small sect.”

Cheruvu is suing both the Ashtalakshmi Temple and JET USA Inc., its parent company, arguing that minors or the parents of minors could not legally consent to the branding.

In a victim impact statement shared with KHOU, the boy, identified only as TC in the lawsuit, said he had “no idea this was going to happen.”

The lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in damages.

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