The respite for Sabarimala’s currency counting employees turned out to be brief. Over 350 strong room employees had been relieved after the state human rights commission directed the temple management in May to allow them underwear.
But it has brought about another ‘security’ measure that is infringing on their dignity: full body searches without clothes.
“Sure, strong rooms employees are now allowed to wear undergarments. But on the slightest suspicion they are forced to remove all clothes and undergo full-body frisking. It is worse than before,” Travancore Employees Organisation leader KR Mohanlal said.
Every season, between November and January, close to 4 crore devotees visit the shrine located in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district.
For over a decade, temple authorities had banned innerwear for employees deployed inside the strong room. They suspected employees might walk away with valuables concealed in their undergarments.
After Hindustan Times highlighted their plight, the Commission had stepped in to restore the employees’ dignity. “Unlike this primitive measure, on the lines of Tirumala Tirupati temple, we need scanners, X-ray machines and close-circuit televisions,” Mohanlal said.