TDB pulls up Sabarimala head priest over purification rituals

Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) Friday decided to seek an explanation from the head priest of Sabarimala temple, for his decision to perform purification rituals after two women of menstrual age entered the shrine.

“We have decided to seek explanation from the Thanthri about the circumstances that led him to perform the rituals. His act was against the Supreme Court order,” Board president A Padmakumar told PTI.

He also said once the explanation was sought, the Sabarimala Thanthri Kandararu Rajeevaru would have to file a reply within 15 days. Two women of menstruating age group made history on 2 January when they stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition defying dire threats from the Hindu right.

The development did not go down well with the temple authorities, with the head priest ordering devotees out of the premises and closing doors to the sanctum sanctorum. He had performed a “purification” ritual for an hour before the doors were opened again.

The women – Kanakadurga and Bindu – aged 44 and 42, stepped into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the Supreme Court’s historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa.

The women, draped in black entered the temple at 3:38 am, a day after over 35 lakh women stood shoulder-to-shoulder across the national highways in Kerala, creating a 620 km-long human ‘wall’ from the northern end of Kasaragod to the southern tip in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the state-sponsored initiative to uphold gender equality. The TDB manages the hill shrine.