The Kerala Yogakshema Sabha (YKS), social service organisation of the Namboodiri community, has taken exception to the Travancore Devaswom Board turning down a plea of Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu to take assistance of his son Kandararu Mohnanararu in performing tantric rites at Sabarimala.

Talking to The Hindu, YKS president Akeeramon Kalidasan Bhattathiripad said the TDB stance was not justifiable.

“How could the board make a statement that the senior Tantri could seek the assistance of his grandson without getting firsthand information on the latter’s competence,” he quipped.

Moreover, the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court, Ernakulam, had convicted all the accused in a criminal case filed against them by Mr. Mohanararu in August, 2012.

The TDB had even sidelined the humanitarian aspects involved in the plea of the 88-year-old Tantri, he said.

The board was feigning ignorance of the fact that Mr. Mohanararu had been doing tantric rites at its major temples at Chengannur, Tirunakkara, and Achenkovil, besides many temples attached to NSS karayogams and SNDP unions, the YKS leader said.

Mr. Bhattathiripad said the Justice Paripoornan commission which was appointed to inquire into the alleged corruption in the TDB and its observations on the competence of Mr. Mohanararu in performing tantric rites were baseless and uncalled for.

He said the board should not sideline the fact that Mr. Mohanararu had been performing tantric rites as an assistant to his father at Sabarimala from 1970.

The YKS leader alleged that Mr. Mohanararu was the complainant in a case against a six-member gang that had held him hostage and forcibly took photographs of him with a woman at a flat in Kochi.

Mr. Bhattathiripad said the Tantri broke down before TDB president M.P. Govindan Nair and other board members, pleading mercy for his son who was the defacto complainant in the criminal case.

He said Mr. Maheswararu was suffering from age-related health problems. The board should withdraw its affidavit and file a new one permitting his plea.

Former TDB chief M.Rajagopalan Nair said the previous board had filed an affidavit before the High Court that it would consider the plea of the senior Tantri as soon as the CJM court disposed of the criminal case filed by Mr. Mohanararu. The board should have considered his request at this juncture, he added.

Taking objection to the TDB stance that the presence of the Tantri at Sabarimala was not necessary on all days, Mr. Nair said the Tantri had to perform 11 important rites, including the Utchapuja, at the Ayyappa temple every day. The Tantri’s presence was imperative at Sabarimala to perform atonement rituals (Sudhikalasom) as and when necessary.

Moreover, pilgrims had considered it a privilege and custom to seek the Tantri’s blessings and they might not accept an adolescent boy as the Sabarimala Tantri, he said.

Mr. Nair said the previous board had in 2011 posted a male nurse to attend on the Tantri at his room owing to his ill health.

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