To stop pilgrims' intrusion into queues
Police and forest officials should not allow the use of unauthorised forest routes by pilgrims for joining pilgrim queues at places near to the Sannidhanam at Sabarimala, ordered a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday.
The order was passed by a Bench consisting of Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and P.S. Gopinathan.
Some devotees use unauthorised forest routes to surreptitiously join the queue near the Sannidhanam or even reach the Sannidhanam through the Bhasmakulam area and then try to elbow into the crowd in the queue within the barricade. They thus obtain preferential entry while a good number of devotees remain in the queue in orderly manner, which cannot be permitted, the court said.
The police and the forest officials will ensure that there will not be any intrusion into the queue.
The court said that no devotee should be permitted to join the queue between Sabaripeetam and the Sannidhanam even under the excuse of having been in the queue at some earlier point of time.
(The Ayyappa temple has been witnessing a heavy rush of pilgrims from various southern States since the beginning of the Makaravialakku festival.)
The devotes should also maintain orderly movement since any manner of violation of the restrictions imposed by those involved in maintaining the queue and law and order will be against public interest and endangering human life in the holy hillock, the court said.
Stampedes have to be avoided totally and for that the devotees have to behave and cooperate, the order said.
The court issued the orders after holding discussions with R. Bhaskaran, Devaswom Ombudsman, and Additional Director-General of Police (South Zone) Chandrasekhar and Inspector-General of Police Hemachandran.
The authorities informed the court that 300 constables were additionally deployed at Sabarimala. Of this, 200 would be at the Sannidhanam and 100 at Pampa.
The Tranvancore Devaswom Board should immediately convene a meeting of voluntary organisations to ensure that basic amenities like drinking water and food were provided to the devotees.
Regarding the ‘Neythenga' that the pilgrims bring to the temple as an offering, the board should consider a proposal for providing a counter for the devotees to give their filled Neythengas without breaking them and in lieu taking the prasadam of Neyyabhishekam.
This suggestion is being made to facilitate return of the devotees on the same day itself rather than waiting overnight for the conduct of the ‘abhiskeham,' the order said.
The Travancore Devaswom Board and the State police should jointly inspect the barricade railings for identifying the ones that needed repair and carryout repair works without disturbing the Ayyappa devotees , the court said.