“The lack of water in the toilets, leading to open defecation in Pamba River, is causing the spread of filth in Pamba River,” says a complaint to Kerala State Human Rights Commission.

No water no toilets causing health hazard for Sabarimala devotees Kerala rights body
news Sabarimala Monday, November 19, 2018 - 15:06

A Kozhikode native named Sani Madavoor, a state leader of the Yoga Tantric Yuva Janata Dal, has filed a complaint with the Kerala State Human Rights Commission claiming that gross violations of human rights have taken place at Sabarimala, due to the lack of basic facilities provided for devotees and policemen there.

The complaint read, “The lack of water in the toilets, leading to open defecation in Pamba River, is causing the spread of filth in Pamba River. Due to this, pilgrims are not able to bathe. It is the Travancore Devaswom Board’s responsibility to ensure that the panchayats of Chengannur and Nillakal provides clean toilet facilities. The KSRTC buses from Nillakal to Pamba are also operating in a way that is inconvenient for pilgrims. In Chengannur railway station also, there are no adequate toilet facilities for the pilgrims that have descended from all over the country. The KSHRC should take notice of these human rights violations occurring at Sannidhanam, Nillakal, Pamba, and Chengannur at direct action be taken in regards to the same.”

Babu, an official at the KSHRC told TNM that the Commission had taken notice of the complaint, and had responded to the complaint as well. The KSHRC’s response reads, “The aforementioned complaint reveals that there is gross human rights violation at Sabarimala Sannidhanam, Nilakkal, and Pamba. The lack of water and toilet facilities is causing human faeces to flow in the Pamba River, which is a health hazard for the devotees. The police officials on duty are also denied facilities.”

The Kerala State Human Rights Commission in its response, which was shared with TNM, directed the TDB Commissioner, the Secretary of the Local Self-Government Department, and the Kerala DGP to intervene immediately, and to file a report within 2 weeks.

Speaking to reporters at Nillakal on Friday, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had said that the floods had devastated the area of Pamba, causing mud to seep into the toilet complex and pipes, which led to blocks in the drainage system, hampering the provision of water. He also said that restrictions were being put in place, such as a ban on creation of any new concrete structures in Pamba, and further actions being taken in order to rectify the problems in providing water and toilet facilities to pilgrims. He urged the media to take cognisance of the difficulty of the situation after the floods, and to report on the matter responsibly.

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