The base of the mast has completely faded in colour, and it is suspected that this is because mercury was poured on it.

Minutes after it was inaugurated Sabarimala temples Rs 32-cr golden flag mast found damaged
news Crime Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 19:24

Minutes after it was inaugurated on Sunday, a gold-plated mast at Kerala’s world famous Sabarimala temple was found damaged, much to the shock of temple authorities.

Temple authorities noticed the damage when devotees began to leave after the inauguration held between 11.50 am and 1.40 pm. It was then found that the golden base (Panchavargathara) of the mast had faded in colour. Dewaswom Board officials immediately informed the police officials in charge of the security of the temple, and an investigation was promptly launched.

According to the police, the damage to the mast could possibly have been caused by pouring mercury on the mast. While some reports indicate that mercury was poured, Sannidhanam Sub Inspector Suresh told TNM that it is yet to be confirmed what exactly had happened. He said that though CCTV footage had captured some men near the mast sometime during the inauguration ceremony, it had not clearly revealed what had happened there.

“We have seen the visuals. But we are not able to confirm which liquid was poured. In the visuals there was no coverage of the spot on which the liquid was poured. It needs a comprehensive enquiry to find out if there was any foul play,” said the Inspector.

While Sannidhanam police has registered a case in connection with the incident Director General of Post TP Senkumar has directed Pathanamthitta SP Satheesh Bino to conduct an enquiry.

The police have already taken into custody three persons from the Pamapa bus station in connection with the incident. They are reportedly being interrogated.  

Top police officials and forensic experts also reached Sannidhanam soon after the incident was reported. The government has also promised prompt action in the matter. While Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran promised quick arrests of the accused, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote on Facebook, “Strict directions have been given to find the accused soon."

The installation ceremony was held between 11.50 am and 1.40 pm. Devotees had turned up in large number to attend the ceremony.  The colour change fade was noted after the devotees began returning after the sanctum sanctorum was closed after the ceremony.

The golden flag mast cost Rs 3.20 crore to erect, and contains 9161kg of gold. The Sabarimala temple is currently celebrating a ten-day to mark the installation ceremony.