Temple board row affects Sabarimala season


Thiruvananathapuram : War of words between the three members of the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) is playing spoilsport to the smooth conduct of the Sabarimala season that began Nov 17.

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The TDB that runs the affairs of temples in south Kerala consists of three members – its president C.K. Guptan and members P. Narayanan and Sumathikutty Amma.

The festival season of the temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa goes on till the third week of January.

Things have not been smooth between the members and the president and adding to the confusion has been the frequent outbursts against the two members by Devasom Minister G.Sudhakaran, who early this month arbitrarily announced a vigilance probe against them.

While Guptan has been the nominee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) and is also the son-in-law of legendary communist EMS Nampoothiripad, Narayanan is a former Communist Party of India (CPI) legislator, and Sumathikutty Amma is a nominee of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).

The smooth conduct of the temple affairs ran into trouble with serious shortage of ‘prasadam’ early this month, forcing the authorities to restrict its supply.

Last week, even the Kerala High Court asked the TDB members and its officials to work as a team so that the administration would be smooth and the image of the board among general public be boosted.

The Bench comprising K.S. Radhakrishnan and T.R. Ramachandran Nair made the observation while considering the reports filed by the Sabarimala Special Commissioner and the TDB on the issue of ‘prasadam’ preparation and distribution.

Speaking to reporters here Tuesday, leader of opposition Oommen Chandy said that the root cause of the problems in Sabarimala is that non-believers run the affairs of believers.

“Reports coming form Sabarimala indicate that the affairs of the temple are in a bad shape because of the clashes between the TDB and the frequent outbursts by the minister. Thousands of devotees who come from far and wide are suffering. Even the supply of ‘prasadam’ is not taking place smoothly,” said Chandy.

“It is best that the vigilance probe announced should cover the functioning of the TDB president also,” said Chandy.

The issue has also left the relations between the two communist parties in the state sullied and this is to be taken up for discussion in the Left Democratic Front meeting later this week.

The temple, at an altitude of 914 meters above sea level and four km from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala, bars the entry of women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause.