Child Branded in Ceremony, Hindu Temple Sued

Photo of alleged branding on child
Photo of alleged branding on child | Image by Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner Law Firm

A legal battle has erupted following shocking allegations that an 11-year-old child was branded during a religious ceremony at a Hindu temple in Sugar Land, Texas.

The incident, which left the child with severe burns and infection, took place in August of 2023 at the Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple in Sugar Land, according to court documents acquired by KHOU 11.

Vijay Cheruvu, the distraught father of the child identified as TC in the suit, has taken legal action against the Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple and its parent company, JET USA INC., seeking justice for what he described as an “illegal mutilation” of his son, per Fox 26 News. Cheruvu’s attorneys claim that TC was branded on both shoulders without consent during a cultural event hosted at the temple in August 2023.

“He said, ‘I had no idea this was going to happen; they did it on my other shoulder,'” according to attorney Andrew Williams via a victim impact statement presented to KHOU 11.

The lawsuit, filed in Fort Bend County, alleges that TC suffered extreme pain and permanent disfigurement as a result of the branding ritual. According to Cheruvu, the marks left on his son’s shoulders resemble those of the Hindu god Vishnu, but he insists that branding is not a religious practice sanctioned by Hinduism.

“This is not a ceremony that’s widely used across Hinduism; this is something that’s a very small sect,” said Brant Stogner, one of Cheruvu’s attorneys, per KHOU 11.

Cheruvu also explained how his son initially concealed the wounds per instructions given to him by temple authorities.

“This is so traumatic. I was traumatized. I couldn’t do anything to protect my son,” Cheruvu told Fox 26.

Cheruvu’s legal representatives are arguing that neither the child nor his mother, who accompanied him to the temple, had the legal authority to consent to such a ritual.

The lawsuit seeks damages exceeding $1 million, reflecting the severity of the harm caused to TC and the anguish experienced by his family.

Temple staff have declined to provide comment on the ongoing legal proceedings to multiple news outlets, including The Dallas Express.

Cheruvu and his family remain resolute in the pursuit of justice and healing for his son.

“He goes to see therapists. He’s deeply scarred, betrayed,” Cheruvu told KHOU 11.

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