The Thazhmon Madhom Thantri family on Monday issued a public statement, dissociating themselves from Ayyappa Dharma Sena president Rahul Easwar, who was leading the protests against women's entry into Sabarimala. The members of the Thazhmon Madhom are traditionally the head priests of Sabarimala Ayyappan temple.
The family’s statement said that Rahul Easwar was in no way related to the practices and traditions of the Sabarimala temple and the Thantris. They also made it clear that they did not agree with his plan to desecrate the temple by spilling blood.
Rahul Easwar was often perceived and projected (both self and by the media) as the voice of the Thantris during the Sabarimala protests. He is related to the family from his mother’s side. However, the thantris have now clarified that Easwar is not involved in the ritualistic practices that the family has rights over.
“Rahul Easwar is not related to the family (practices in any way). My sister got married and moved away. We practice a patrilineal system now. Which means only the sons inherit the legacy,” Tantri Kandararu Mohanararu, Easwar’s uncle, told Asianet News.
“The Tantric society is firmly steeped in the beliefs and practices. In the name of belief, conflicts and confrontations should not be made. The Thazhmon family and the thantris will not shirk from the responsibility of safeguarding the traditions and practices. There is a general talk that the news related to Rahul Easwar and his approach is aligned to the stance taken by the Thantri family. According to the rules, Rahul Easwar is not involved in the rituals and traditions followed by the Sabarimala or the Thantri family. He also does not inherit the legacy. We don’t agree to such opinions and steps taken,” the statement read.
The statement is a response to Rahul Easwar’s controversial speech where he revealed an organized conspiracy to desecrate the temple by spilling blood from wounds, in case women entered the temple.
In a press meet last week, Rahul had said, "If any one (women between the ages of 10 and 50) tried to enter the temple with the help of the police, about 20 people were ready to make a cut on their hand and shed blood. If that happens, the temple would have to be closed for three days (on account of desecration). There is no need to open it no matter who says so. If we are being provoked like that, we too have our ways. If blood or urine falls on the temple, it has to be closed. This is faith."
In the statement, the Thazhmon Madhom family made it clear that they did not agree with or approve of Easwar’s plan.
“We want the sanctum to be the place of peace and devotion, we want to maintain it that way. Nothing should happen which would pollute the holy sanctum which will make it impure. Everyone must cooperate and work towards upholding the sanctity of Ayyappa’s sanctum,” it read.
The Thazhmon Madhom statement also said that the CM’s October speech on Sabarimala brought them great pain. However, the the family bears no ill feelings against the government or the devaswom board, it read.
“Thantri family has always enjoyed a good relationship with the Devaswom board and this will continue too. In Pathanamthitta, respected CM’s speech brought forth great pain. We believe, it must have been the result of some misunderstanding that the CM has taken such a stance. We have no difference of opinion with the government or the Devaswom board," the statement said.
On October 28, Sunday, Rahul Easwar was arrested for the second time from his apartment in Thiruvananthapuram. A case was filed against Rahul Easwar by a Thiruvananthapuram native and a non-bailable FIR was registered by Kochi police on Friday after he made the controversial remarks at a press meet. He had been booked under Section 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than ten persons) and Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the IPC and 118(E) of the Kerala Police Act.
He was previously arrested on October 17 from Sabarimala hill for obstructing police from carrying out their duties and unlawful assembly, through the course of his involvement in protests there.