Hyderabad: With an aim to prevent atrocities on women and girls, the famous Chilkur Balaji shrine on Tuesday symbolically launched a programme to form a 'Jatayu Army' on the temple premises

In the mythological epic Ramayana, Jatayu is the divine giant eagle that dies while fighting Ravana to prevent him from abducting Goddess Sita.

Special rituals were performed on sacred threads that were tied on the wrists of women and girls in the shrine, which marked the symbolic launch of 'Jatayu Sena' an army for protection of girls and women, Chilkur Balaji temple head priest, CS Rangarajan said.

Several male devotees took oath to serve as members of the Jatayu Sena, he said.

"Men can join to become members of the Jatayu Sena and they need to be proactive in preventing crimes against girls and women," he said.

The idea (for launching the Jatayu Sena) came from thousands of devotees who have been a part of a sensitisation campaign, he said.

Rangarajan said the temple continues to sensitise society towards protecting girls and women from molesters and eve-teasers.

"Jatayu Army formation is the new initiative, to protect women and girls from atrocities… We cannot allow any more rapes... Jatayu Army is the only solution," he said.

On the occasion, temple priests felicitated Nadeem of Karwan area who rescued a minor girl from being abducted on a two-wheeler by a man near Moinabad Mandal, recently.

Those joining Jatayu Army can help in protecting women and girls from atrocities and also in preventing them from abuse, Rangarajan said, adding he is taking suggestions from devotees on how to take the initiative forward.

Popularly known as Visa Balaji Temple, the shrine is situated on the banks of the Osman Sagar lake near here and is one of the oldest temples.

Expressing concern over incidents of rapes of children in the country, temple priests in June this year had performed prayers to prevent such crimes.