Reopening of the Sabarimala temple for devotees, scheduled to be carried out on June 14, now faces uncertainty as the temple’s priests have reportedly said that devotees should not be allowed in the temple. The Kerala government had earlier announced that restricted entry will be permitted to the Sabarimala temple, a popular hill shrine in the country.
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Thantri Kandaru Mohanaru, the high priest of the temple, has written a letter to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), Kerala Minister’s for Devaswom Kadakampally Surendran said that the government will hold talks with the stakeholders.
According to reports, the priest has raised concerns about the turn out of devotees in the temple, amid the COVID-19 situation in the country. But TDB President N Vasu told TNM that they had not received such a letter from the priests of the Sabarimala temple.
“We haven't got any such letter. We had discussed multiple times with tantris (priests) prior to taking the decision of reopening the temple. Now they themselves should explain why they have changed the stand,” N Vasu told TNM.
Meanwhile, Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media that since there is a difference of opinion, a joint meeting will be held with Sabarimala priests and TDB officials.
“After the Centre's decision came (on reopening religious institutions), a meeting was chaired by Kerala Chief Minister on June 4. Prior to that, Devaswom Boards had held internal meetings with the temple priests. Only after that, the decision was announced. Now with this present situation, we need to know what the opinion of tantris are. The government has invited tantris and TDB board officials for a meeting tomorrow (Thursday),” the Minister told the media.
He added that the state government was not adamant that temples should be reopened. But it was only following the Centre's direction and the opinion of the Devaswom Boards.
As per earlier directions, it was said that only 200 people will get ‘darshan’ in an hour and that devotees should register online. Devotees coming from other states are asked to furnish a medical certificate showing that they are negative for coronavirus.