No going back on Sabarimala, says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that there was no going back for the government in the case of entry of women of all ages at Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple. “Opposition to changes in customs is quite natural. But there is no going back. Toilets, bathing facility and accommodation facility at Nilakkal will be set up for women devotees. The present crisis is temporary,” he said at weekly media interaction programme.
The government is preparing a master plan for the development of Sabarimala.Pinarayi condemned the false campaign that government was taking the revenue of temples, including Sabarimala for other expenses. “In fact the government spends a good amount every year for infrastructure development of temples and road development. Some are conducting a campaign that devaswom revenue is going to the treasuries. Naive devotees fall in their trap,” the chief minister said.
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Strict action will be taken against those creating problems at Sabarimala. State Welfare Coporation for Forward Communities chairman Balakrishna Pillai, former principal secretary to the prime minister T K A Nair, writers K R Meera, Ashokan Charuvil and Swami Sandeepananda Giri attended.
Police expect more online booking for darshan by women
The 550 women aged between 10 and 50, who have booked Sabarimala darshan through ‘sabarimalaq.com’, hailed from various South Indian states including Kerala. Police officers said they expect more women to book darshan using the portal in the coming days. Police IT Cell has filed a report giving details of the booked persons to police headquarters for further action including conducting background check. Social media posts of the women who did online booking would also be scrutinised.
Meanwhile, police have made it mandatory for private vehicles coming to Sabarimala to obtain passes from their respective police stations. This is applicable even for inter-state vehicles. A statement issued by police headquarters said the pass should mention the date of travel and it should be pasted in the front windshield of the vehicle.
Though official version is that the move is to streamline parking at Nilakkal, inside sources say that it’s intended to monitor arrival of trouble makers to Sabarimala.
A challenge for police
“Only when the women devotees approach with the online booking printouts at Nilakkal, we will be able to confirm whether they are genuine or not,” said a senior police officer. “All the bookings have been made by uploading their photo, furnishing address and date of birth. Anyway, it’s going to be a big challenge for the police as already lakhs have booked for darshan using the online portal,” the officer said.
As on November 8, a total of 3,26,855 people have booked for darshan during the pilgrimage season and the daily booking is around 30,000. Data shows 5,607 people have also cancelled the booking so far.