Sabarimala priest favours delay, temple body says will open on June 14
The Sabarimala tantri (supreme priest) said he has sent a letter to the TDB commissioner and spoke to TDB chairman N Vasu for postponing the opening of the hill shrine. The TDB, however, claims that it has received no communication in this matter.Updated: Jun 10, 2020 20:22 IST
The head priest of the Sabarimala temple favours a delay in reopening the hill shrine due to rising coronavirus cases, while the Travancore Devaswom Board, the government body that helps run the shrine, on Wednesday said it will go ahead with its initial plan to open on June 14.
“We made a decision after talking to the tantri family. As of now we will go ahead with our plan to open it. I haven’t got any communication from the tantri in this regard. We have already started registration for the virtual queue,” said TDB president N Vasu. The TDB runs Sabarimala and other major temples in south and central Kerala.
Kandararu Mohanararu, the Sabarimala tantri (supreme priest), said he has sent a letter to the TDB commissioner and spoke to TDB chairman N Vasu regarding the opening of the hill shrine.
The TDB, however, claims that it has received no communication in this matter. The tantri is usually considered the final word on all ritualistic matters.
During the 2018 violence over the entry of women in the temple following the Supreme Court verdict, both the TDB and the tantri had locked horns with the latter threatening to close down the temple.
Citing a sharp increase in caseload in the neighbouring states, the priest said it is better to postpone the opening of the temple.“Many pilgrims throng the temple from neighbouring states as well. It will be difficult to keep a tab on all devotees. So the festival and other functions can be postponed now,” he said, adding allowing devotees at this juncture will pose a serious threat.
His demand came in the wake of many Hindu organisations questioning the government’s decision to open shrines in the state. Earlier, the government had decided to allow ‘darshan’ for devotees at Sabarimala after applying virtual queue, submitting a Covid-free certificate obtained from a lab or hospital approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Unveiling the graded exit plan under Unlock 1, the central government had allowed reopening of places of worship for devotees, malls and restaurants from June 8 across the country. They have been shut since March 25, when the lockdown was first imposed to stem the spread of the disease.