PATHANAMTHITTA: The five Andhra Pradesh natives held for allegedly defacing the newly-installed golden flag mast at Sabarimala said pouring mercury on the mast - for which they were held - was an ongoing practice during installation ceremonies at temples in the state.
Following their interrogation, IG (South range) Manoj Abraham rejected any hidden agenda or conspiracy behind pouring of mercury on the base of the flag mast. The interrogation of Sudhakara Reddy, 48, Satyanarayan Reddy, 50, D Venkita Rao, 38, D N L Chaudhary, 25, and G Umamaheswara Reddy, 30, all natives of Vijayawada in Krishna district, was later taken over by a DySP-led team of AP police personnel here as part of probe.
Mercury was poured on the base of the flag mast at the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple at 1.27 pm on Sunday, minutes after ‘uchcha pooja.’ While cleaning the flag mast, workers noticed the chemical and alerted Devaswom authorities. Devaswom Vigilance SI Prasanth zeroed in on the accused after CCTV visuals found them pouring mercury on the flag mast. Devaswom guards Manoj, Rajesh, Aravind and Sanath apprehended the five persons. They saw a white patch on one of the accused’s leg and handed them over to police.
Upon getting wind of the incident, Travancore Devaswom Board President Prayar Gopalakrishnan contacted DGP T P Senkumar and sought assistance. Senkumar asked the District Superintendent of Police Satheesh Bino to take immediate follow-up measures into the incident.
Accused making farcical claims: Kummanam
Sabarimala: BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan on Monday said the claim chemicals are poured on flag masts as part their installation ceremony in Andhra Pradesh temples was a ‘farce’ and ‘misguiding.’ He was reacting to such a claim made by five AP natives arrested for allegedly defacing the newly-installed golden flag mast at the Sabarimala Temple by pouring mercury on its base.
Kummanam said he talked to thantri and acharyas of Tirupati Sri Venkateswara temple and other temples at Hyderabad and Vijayawada. “Even they have not heard of such a practice,” said Kummanam, who demanded deployment of armed security personnel at Sabarimala following the “unfortunate” attack on the flag mast.
The Kerala Brahmana Sabha has condemned the act of antisocials who poured mercury on the base of the new flag mast at the Sabarimala temple. Kerala Brahmana Sabha state president Karim-puzha Raman urged the Chief Minister to take stringent action against the miscreants and said such intolerant inci-dents should not be allowed.