A press statement released by the Kerala Police Information Centre on Monday evening has stated that there will be a change in the police officers posted at the Sabarimala sannidhanam, Pamba, Nilakkal and Vadasserikara from the second phase of the pilgrimage season starting from November 30 to December 14.
The State Police Chief has announced that the Inspector General of Police (IG), Dinendra Kashyap will be in charge of the security at the Sannidhanam and Pamba, whereas IG (intelligence) Ashok Yadav will be put in charge of the security at Nilakkal, Vadasserikara and Erumeli.
Wayanad district police chief Karuppa Swami and Superintendent of Police (vigilance), KE Baiju will be the police controllers at the Sannidhanam. Kaliraj Mahesh Kumar, who is the Kozhikode City Police Commissioner and MK Pushkaran, the Thrissur rural district police chief will be the controllers at Pamba.
At Nilakkal, the police controllers will be telecommunications SP H Manjunath and special cell SP V Ajith, whereas the Kerala Police Academy assistant director, KK Shaji will be the police controller at Marakkoottam.
The heavy security and the deployment of large numbers of police officials were earlier said to have irked the devotees coming to offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple, especially with the restrictions in place. But several media reports over the days have shown devotees coming from states outside Kerala conveying their satisfaction about the pilgrimage. Some have also praised the work done by the Kerala police to keep the Sannidhanam and its premises safe and ensuring that nothing untoward happens.
On November 21, Pon Radhakrishnan had arrived in a government vehicle at the base camp in Nilakkal where he had an altercation with Superintendent of Police Yatish Chandra who told him that only the minister's car could be allowed and not the entourage of cars along with him. The SP and others officers told the minister that the private cars could not proceed to Sabarimala as there were restrictions in place and only government run KSRTC buses were allowed. Following this, Pon Radhakrishnan took a KSRTC bus upto Pamba from where he climbed up to Sabarimala and offered his prayers.
Citing sources, a Deccan Chronicle report, however, states the removal of SP Yathish Chandra from charges of Nilakkal and Pamba had nothing to do with the controversies that had come up during the visit of Union Minister of state, Pon Radhakrishnan to the Sabarimala temple.