The question of authority in matters relating to the rituals at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple once again entered into a controversy with the Travancore Devaswom Board officials preventing Rahul Easwar, grandson of the senior Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, from entering into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on Tuesday afternoon.

The issue began when Mr Easwar, a post-graduate in Philosophy, who reached the holy hillock on Tuesday morning was trying to enter the sanctum sanctorum along with the senior Tantri as the latter’s helper for the Utchapuja.

The Executive Officer, M. Satishkumar and devaswom guards prevented Mr Easwar from entering the sanctum sanctorum saying that they could not allow him inside the sanctum with out obtaining prior permission from the TDB.

Though the Tantri and his grandson have protested against the TDB stance, Mr Easwar could not enter the sanctum as the board official stood firm in his stand.

TDB official clarifies

The Executive Officer told The Hindu that TDB has posted three priests to assist the Tantri on the basis of latter’s recommendation and all of them were provided with photo identity card too.

He said TDB always held the view that the Tantri was the last word in matters concerning the rituals at its temples. However, the board officials were not supposed to permit entry for all priests to the sanctum sanctorum without obtaining prior permission for the same from the temple administrative body, he added.

Easwar protests

Meanwhile, Mr Easwar alleged that the TDB official’s act amounted to blatant denial of the 85-year old senior Sabarimala Tantri’s right to take his grandson, who is also well-versed in ritualistic matters, to the sanctum sanctorum.

He alleged that denial of permission for him to get inside the sanctum sanctorum was a testimony to the arrogance of the temple administration.

Mr Easwar said he also contacted the TDB president, M. Rajagopalan Nair, who, in turn, had promised to discuss the matter in detail on Tuesday night.

Mr Nair who is on his way to Sabarimala is likely to reach the holy hillock in the evening. However, he was not available over phone for a comment on the issue.

Mr Easwer said he was camping at the Tantri’s camp at the temple complex, awaiting a positive response from the TDB chief.

Yogakshema Sabha decries TDB stance

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the Yogakshema Sabha State president, Akkeeramon Kalaidasa Bhattathiri, has strongly condemned the TDB act of denying permission to the Sabarimala Tantri’s grandson to the sanctum sanctorum.

Mr Bhattathiri alleged that the TDB act amounted to usurping of the powers and rights of the Tantri which could never be justifiable.

Mr Bhattathiri alleged that the TDB act could be taken as a move to bridle the Tantri and curtail powers of the office of the temple chief priest in the ritualistic matters of a temple.