Sabarimala priest submits explanation over purification ritual to TDB

Kandararu Rajeevaru

Thiruvananthapuram: Sabarimala temple head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru in an explanation to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) denied conducting the purification ritual due to the entry of the two women of menstruating age into the Ayyappa temple on 2 January.

In his explanation, he said the temple was facing many issues during the Chithira Aatta celebration and mandala-makaravilakku festival and so in order to restore the lost grace of the deity, he performed the pooja and that it was done with full co-operation of the Devaswom Board officials.

“The allegations that the temple was closed due to the women’s entry and the act was against the Supreme Court order of 28 September are baseless,” said the Tantri. Since there was a huge crowd on 1 January, he had to perform the ritual on the 2nd. He also said that it was not necessary to take permission from the TDB to perform the rituals.

“The ceremony was conducted after informing all the devoswom officials who were present at the Sannidhanam at that time. I had informed the TDB president and the Devaswom Commissioner that purification of the idol was being done and the door of the sanctum sanctorum was not closed fully as alleged,” said his letter.

A telephonic conversation with TDB president A Padamakumar and Board member Shankar Das was held regarding the matter, said the Tantri. His letter also added that his family Tazhamon Madom were carrying out priestly duties for generations.

The TDB had sought an explanation from the head priest for the purification rituals performed after two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, of menstruating age entered the temple and offered prayers.

Rajeevaru received backlash from various political leaders such as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and he was even called a Brahmin monster by senior Kerala minister G Sudhakaran.

There were also reports that Rajeevaru had conducted the ritual as Bindu was a Dalit. The Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes sent a show-cause notice to him in this regard.

Since the 28 September 2018 verdict by the Supreme Court allowing women of all age group into Sabarimala shrine, Kerala had witnessed intense protests against the LDF government’s decision to implement the order.

NT Bureau