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A HUMAN rights commission in southern India has intervened to allow employees of a popular Hindu shrine who count donations to keep their underpants on at work.

The strict dress code involved wearing only a cotton wrap around the waist and nothing underneath.

This was imposed on the employees in the vault, all of whom were men, by the police and temple authorities at the Sabarimala Hill shrine in Kerala five years ago after thefts were reported from the shrine’s strong room.

“The employees on duty are made to strip in front of an officer before leaving the office to ensure that they do not carry anything in their underwear,” said the union leader. “It is humiliating and an insult to human dignity.”

Employees found it degrading, and their union complained to the Kerala State Human Rights Commission, who agreed.

Authorities at the shrine, which is dedicated to Ayyappa, a south Indian deity, said they would end the practice and have begun looking into electronic surveillance systems.