Ayyappa devotees Betrayed by the Dewaswom in all respects

published on December 3, 2007

Devotees continue to flock Sabarimala despite threat

Pioneer News Service | Pathanamthitta

The increasing presence of pilgrims to the hill temple is neither met with adequate sanitation nor proper places for the devotees to take rest. The Sabarimala pilgrims are also facing the woes of the poor maintenance of roads and most of the pilgrims complained that the Aravana distribution was still not in order.

There were a high turn out of pilgrims to do the customary ‘Neyyabishekam’ ritual in the temple and with the police acting tough with security detectors and other modern equipments to weed out the presence of unwanted elements, the pilgrims are also suffering.

The Sannidhanam officer in charge of the police DySp Sadanandan Nair has given a clear message that on December 5 evening no pilgrim would be allowed to rest in Sannidhanam and that after the harivarasanam, when the temple closes, no one would be allowed to stay back. This is following the anniversary of the Babari Masjid demolition and there are intelligence warnings across the State on the possibility of some attacks from certain Islamic organisations.

The Police have already increased the teams of personnel with separate trained commando wing patrolling the shrine from Pampa to Sannidhaanam. There were also reports of the presence of certain Maoist and terror outfits like the LTTE entering the temple premises. While the Police is not leaving any stone unturned there are conflicting reports on any terror moves at Sabarimala with even the Muslim outfits aware of the outcome of any action on Sabarimala. Another interesting aspect of this season has been the presence of snakes throughout the Sannidhanam. There were even highly poisonous Cobras, one of which was caught hold off by the Circle Inspector of Police Sajan who is an expert in catching snakes.

The snakes, after being caught, are sent back to dense forests. The long queues in front of the Aravana and Appam counters are still creating problems to the Dewaswom board as the pilgrims from other States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Karnataka, who throng in large numbers at the temple, feels that they are being betrayed by the Dewaswom in all respects. Ponnnuswamy, a Chartered accountant with a leading bank, had come from Chennai and found to his astonishment that there was an irregular supply of one of the most cherished prasadams from the Lord as he had several friends and relatives waiting for him for their share of the prasadam.

He told The Pioneer, “This is atrocious. What are the authorities for? Doesn’t they know that the temple opens every year on the first of Vrishchika and why haven’t they done any preparations for this occasion?”

While the Dewaswom Board and the authorities are tightlipped, sources told The Pioneer, “there is a dip in the revenue at the temple. The actual figures will be revealed later but there is indeed a dip in the arrival of devotees.” It is certain that devotees are not shying away from the temple but they are forced to stop reaching the temple following these incidents.

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