Untouchability row: ‘Nothing prevented priest from handing over lamp to Kerala minister'
Tharananallur Padmanabhan Unni Nampoothirippad said the incident was “unfortunate”, and should not be construed as an issue of caste discrimination.
KANNUR/THRISSUR: The Thanthri of Nambiathra Kovval temple, where Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan was allegedly subjected to caste discrimination, has made it clear that no custom or tradition prevented the chief priest from handing over the lamp to the minister for the inauguration.
“The inexperience of the Melshanthi might have prompted him (not to hand over the lamp). But you cannot point an accusing finger at him, or anyone for that matter,” Tharananallur Padmanabhan Unni Nampoothirippad said on Tuesday. Terming the incident as “unfortunate”, he said it should not be construed as an issue of caste discrimination.
Every temple follows its own established customs and practices, which are unique to each temple and deeply rooted in tradition. Additionally, the minister has specific rights and responsibilities in these ceremonies, and there are no restrictions in place regarding the lamp-handing protocol,” he said.
To a question, Tharananallur said he would intervene only if requested by temple officials. “I should have been informed about the incident as soon as it happened. But so far, no one has brought it to my attention,” he said. The Thanthri said he learnt about the incident only from the media after the minister made it public.
Meanwhile, Radhakrishnan said his intention was to bring in a change in society’s mindset, and not trigger a row. Despite the nation’s achievements like the Chandrayaan, there is a lack of progress in people’s mindsets.
“The incidents in various parts of the country are proof of the kind of influence the caste system has on people’s mindset. It is a fact that those who introduced caste system and discriminations on the basis of it were way more intelligent than the present generation as it still remains in some people’s mind,” he said.
At a function on Monday, the minister had shared an incident of discrimination by priests at the inaugural function of ‘nadapandal’ at a temple. A priest placed the lamp on the floor instead of directly handing it to him. Later, it came to light that the incident occurred at Nambyathra Kovval Siva Temple in Payyannur on January 26.
A video of the incident also went viral.
Shocking, says CM
Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed the caste discrimination faced by Minister K Radhakrishnan as shocking.
The CM said he would check with the minister and take a decision on further action to be taken in this regard.
“He revealed the incident that occurred when he was attending a function. These are issues unexpected in our society,” said the chief minister.
The CPM state leadership lashed out strongly against the caste discrimination faced by the minister. “Kerala feels ashamed over such caste discrimination,” said the party secretariat in a statement.