Friday, October 19, 2018

Temple Rituals stopped for some time in Shabarimalai

Temple Rituals stopped for some time in Shabarimalai
Shabarimalai: Amid high drama, two women – Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and an activist Rehana Fatima – were forced to return from within 500 metres of the Sabarimala temple Friday, 19th October 2018  after its chief priest threatened to shut it down if they entered the shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. And the 3rd woman Mary Sweety returned amid protests after she reached Pamba.

Prayer services in the temple were disruptedfor the first time with priests boycotting rituals in protest.

“It is a most painful day. I told everyone if women enter the holy steps. I will close temple and I will go back to my house. I am with devotees. I can’t be a part to violation of temple rituals,” Tantri (chief priest) Rajeevaru Kandarau. There are 18 steps that lead to the temple’s sanctum sanctorum.

After the threat of temple closure, police said the two women would be escorted back.
Earlier, the Pandalam Palace has urged the temple high priest (Tantri), Kandararu Rajeevararu, to take effective steps to ensure due compliance of the ritualistic as well as Tantric custom, tradition and practice at the Ayyappa Temple.

The Pandalam Palace Managing Committe secretary P.N. Narayana Varma told that he has already conveyed the message, through a special messenger, to the Tantri to close the sanctum, in the event of any defilement at the temple premises.

Mr. Varma said the palace messenger and the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple advisory Committee president, Pritvipal, has conveyed the royal family’s direction to close the sanctum if any young woman violates the temple custom and enters the temple precincts or in the event of a bloodshed there.

The Travancore Devaswom Board will meet today in Thiruvananthapuram to find an amicable solution to the deadlock. Ahead of the meeting, the TDB, which administers the hill shrine, Thursday, 18th October 2018, said it was ready for any sort of compromise to end the stand-off.

TDB president A Padmakumar said the board has always taken a stand that it was ready for any sort of compromise to end the protest and bring normalcy. Seeking to reach out to devotees opposing entry of women of all age groups, he asked if the protests would end if the TDB files a review plea in the Supreme Court against its verdict.

Meanwhile Leader of the Opposition Congress Party Ramesh Chennithala made sharp attack on the Govt and Police for making the mess. Shabarimalai is not a tourist place to anybody to walkover there. It is a temple and devotees feelings must not be hurt. BJP leaders too attacked on the Govt for not honouring the sentments of devotees.

Meanwhile, Kerala Minister of Devasoms, Kadakampally Surendran, claimed the two women were actually activists. "After coming to know that, it becomes our duty to protect the rights of the devotees and not that of activists. Our request to women activists is not to ply their trade in hallowed places. The police should have been more cautious. They should have found out more about these women. The state government is duty-bound to protect the rights of the devotees," said Surendran.

On Thursday, a New Delhi-based woman journalist was stopped midway by devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine. The journalist accompanied by a male colleague, a foreigner, descended the hills from Marakkoottam area in the face of mounting protests. A case has been registered against devotees who allegedly prevented her from trekking and forced her to climb down the hills, PTI reported.

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