KOCHI: Amidst the outrage triggered by the alleged incident in which a woman devotee got remains of a lizard from the aravana prasadam distributed at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, Travancore Devaswom Board president N Vasu said the whole incident was part of a conspiracy.
“Lakhs of pilgrims are thronging the hill shrine and there is a steep increase in the temple revenue. The incident is part of a conspiracy hatched by some miscreants to damage the reputation of the temple and dissuade people from buying prasadam. We have urged the government to conduct a probe into the incident so that the culprits are brought to book,” Vasu told TNIE.
He said it was an online news portal which supported the section of people trying to create unrest at Sabarimala that circulated the video in which a woman claimed she got a lizard from aravana. “There is no chance of any living being getting into the aravana plant as it is very hot. The plant is clean and hygienic,” said Vasu.
The Devaswom Board had held talks with the Central Food Technologies Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru, last year to improve the quality of aravana prasadam and renovate the aravana plant to make it more hygienic. As TDB Commissioner, Vasu had visited CFTRI, along with former TDB member K P Shankardas, last year to discuss the plant renovation.“We could not take the deal forward due to protests last year. We are planning to revive the project after the pilgrimage season,” said Vasu.
Police to launch detailed probe
T’Puam: The police department has announced a high-level probe into the allegation that dead lizard was found in aravana payasam tin bought by a Thiruvananthapuram native. State police chief Loknath Behera on Monday said ADGP (Law and Order) Sheikh Darvesh Saheb, who is also the chief police coordinator in Sabarimala, will probe the allegation and submit a report soon.
Controversy erupted after a woman, a native of Vattappara, located in the rural parts of the district, came up with a serious allegation that remains of a dead lizard were found in one of the aravana payasam tins that she had bought. She said she noticed the presence of the lizard on opening the tins. The other tins -- she had bought a box of aravana -- were in good condition.