HC orders probe into ‘defilement’ at Sabarimala

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on July 3, 2006

On Monday, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) informed the Kerala High Court that the Vigilance Superintendent of Police and the TDB secretary had been directed to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the alleged defilement of the Lord Ayyappa idol at Sabarimala by Kannada actress Jaimala and file a report by July 7.

The submission to this effect was made by the board counsel in a statement filed before a division bench comprising Chief Justice V K Bali and Justice M Ramachandran.

Instructions regarding the enquiry had been given by board president, it was stated. The issue would be discussed at the next meeting of the board on July 7. The TDB said it was proceeding with ‘remedial’ measures suggested in the Devaprasanam conducted at the hill shrine last month.

At the end of Devaprasanam (astrological examination of temple affairs) on June 19, the board members had taken an oath in front of the Sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum) and had sworn before Lord Ayyappa that remedial measures suggested would be taken without fail.

Since this was an assurance given by the board to Lord Ayyappa, the board was bound to carry it out as otherwise it might affect those who had taken the oath, it was submitted by the counsel on a petition filed by Jaykumar, an astrologer, seeking a direction to the TDB to conduct a fresh Devaprasnam.

The counsel submitted that Devaprasnam was a religious matter done with the consent of the Thanthri. Once it was done, the TDB was bound to undertake remedial action as the board was sworn to do so before God.

The petitioner had also sought a direction to the State Government to order an enquiry by an independent agency into the claim by the actress that she had touched the idol of Lord Ayyappa.

The actress had claimed that she had visited the temple when she was in her late 20s and touched the idol sparking off a row as women between puberty and menopause are barred from worshipping at the shrine.

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