THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Men of the Kerala Armed Police 3 Battalion (KAP 3 BN) were on Tuesday ordered to return to Adoor following media reports about the miserable living conditions of the guardians of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple riches. The men said they - plagued by dengue and fever - have also been sanctioned four days’ leave.
The KAP 3 BN is based in Adoor in Pathanamthitta district. On Tuesday morning, following media reports, Devaswom Minister V S Sivakumar asked DGP Jacob Punnoose to urgently look into the matter.
Sixty men of this battalion, which guards the cellars holding the massive wealth, had been forced to live in a decrepit building next to the high-profile temple. They had come here from Adoor after police protection was offered to the temple following the discovery of the riches.
The men had to sleep on the floor in a stuffy, ill-lit, ill-ventilated hall. There was not even a proper mess. The men had to sit outside to eat.
The frontyard was filled with garbage and the place was infested with mosquitoes and rats. Of the five toilets, only two were usable, the cops told this paper.
On Monday, officials from the District Medical Office had inspected the surroundings and recommended urgent steps to remedy the situation. Of the 60 men, over 20 had gone on medical leave over the past weeks, and three or four of them were down with dengue. This included a havildar who has been admitted to a private hospital in the city.
Meanwhile, the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple executive officer Harikumar said that the building in question had nothing to do with the temple.
‘’It belongs to the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust, not the temple. The building in question used to be rented out, but it is in a poor condition now,’’ he said.