Hundreds of poor Hindu villagers in eastern India have refused to hand over a rare turtle to authorities, saying it is an incarnation of God, officials said on Tuesday. Villagers chanting hymns and carrying garlands, bowls of rice and fruits are pouring in from remote villages to a temple in Kendrapara, a coastal district in eastern Orissa state.
Police have been trying to take the animal from the villagers since it's actually illegal to harbor this rare turtle. (Note: That's not a picture of the turtle to the left. The exact species isn't clear from news reports.) The villagers are saying the turtle has holy symbols on its shell and is really an incarnation of Lord Jagannath, a popular Hindu deity. Let us all pray to Jagannath that this doesn't devolve into an Elian Gonzalez-type situation, with Indian authorities barging in to grab a confused reptile... Related Content: Discoblog: The Science of Virgin Birth Discoblog: A Bishop Calls for Holy Water Ban to Stop Swine Flu Spread Discoblog: No Time to Pray? No Problem! Your Computer Can Do It For You
Image: flickr / Rennett Stowe