Sabarimala thantri Kantararu Rajeeveru had conducted a "purification" ritual on Jan 2, following the visit of two women devotees to the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Sabarimala thantri gets 15 days more to explain purification rituals
news Sabarimala Monday, January 21, 2019 - 14:00

 Sabarimala temple custodian, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), on Monday extended time to Thantri Kantararu Rajeeveru to explain why a "purification" ritual was conducted following the visit of two women devotees to the Lord Ayyappa shrine just after New Year, said a board official.

"Till Sunday he was at Sabarimala. Now that he is free, he might have to take opinion from others before he gives his reply. So we gave him another 15 days time," TDB president A. Padmakumar told the media in Thiruvananthapuram.

"Generally when a normal purification ritual is done, the thantri does not need to take the permission of the TDB, but what happened on January 2, was not a normal one," Padmakumar added.

The temple was shut for an hour around 10.30 a.m., on January 2, for "purification rituals" after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed two women -- Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga, belonging to the hitherto banned age group -- completed a 'darshan' at 3.30 a.m. in Sabarimala.

"We have asked for an explanation from him (Rajeeveru), why the TDB permission was not sought," said Padmakumar.

On January 4, after serving the notice to the thantri, Padmakumar said the purification ritual went against the directive of the Supreme Court that on September 28 allowed all women entry inside the shrine.

Action against the thantri for closing the shrine to conduct the "purification" ritual would depend on his explanation of the action, especially as Vijayan had asked the TDB to take a serious look into the matter.

Confirming the entry of Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini then, the Chief Minister had said that the state abided by the apex court directive and had come down heavily on the thantri for the blatant violation.

Vijayan had said that Rajeeveru has every right as a person to differ with the court order but if he was not able to digest the verdict, he could well have quit his post.

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