Have you noticed WhatsApp forwards claiming that the Kerala forest department has termed devotees' chants in Sabarimala as noise pollution? The message also claims that the ruling CPI(M) is taken action to stop pilgrimage to Sabarimala as the temple is located inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The forward also claims that the government stated that pilgrims pose an ecological threat in the area and asks what would have happened if the same comments had been passed about any other religious place and the devotees.
The above mentioned message is fake news. There is no such poster or announcement that the Forest Department has issued, contrary to several media reports. The was specifically mentioned by the Minister of forests in the state K Raju.
Several media reports had claimed that the forest department had issued a report to the Union government terming the pilgrims going to Sabarimala temple as an ecological threat. However, the forest department has categorically denied this and said that they have not prepared such a report.
Following this, another report claiming to quote the said report circulated in the media. This quote was taken from the thesis report of a research student from Pondicherry university, who in 2014 had done her the thesis on ecotourism in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.