Moot shifting of hundi, stopping of fireworks
Suggest verification of the bona fides of the contractors Want no business establishments at the Malikappuram buildings
PATHANAMTHITTA: The Intelligence wing of the State police is understood to have come out with certain proposals to step up security arrangements in Sabarimala during the coming two-month Mandalam-Makaravilakku season, according to official sources.
Highly placed official sources told The Hinduthat the proposal to step up security measures was in the backdrop of reported terrorist threats to a few places of worship in the State.
Experts have suggested that the hundi (where devotees make their offerings to the presiding deity) be shifted to the Lower Thirumuttom. The funnel-shaped hundi is attached to a conveyor belt that carries articles in it directly to the Devaswom strong room.
Devotees throwing their offerings, which include packs of coins, gold and silver coins and images, into the hundi is a common scene during rush days. There were instances of packs of coins landing inside the sanctum sanctorum.
The temple authorities used to temporarily shift the hundi from the Sopanam to a relatively `safe' place outside the Nalambalam on the directions of the police during the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in December.
The police have expressed their concern over the storage of explosives in Sabarimala for the vedivazhipadu (fireworks offering). They have suggested that the authorities take steps to stop the fireworks offering itself (Sabarimala is situated in the dense forests of the Periyar Tiger Reserve) in view of the security concerns.
The police have suggested strict verification of the bona fides of the contractors or licensees of the fireworks offering by the police stations concerned. They have proposed closure of all business establishments at the Malikappuram buildings that hinder the smooth passage of pilgrims during rush days.
Erecting watchtowers at strategic points, issuing photo identity cards to all workers in Sabarimala after verifying their addresses and antecedents, and posting armed guards for the hundis kept in different parts of the holy hillock are some other recommendations.
A high-level police team led by Additional Director-Generals of Police Jacob Punnose and S. Pulikesi is expected to visit Sabarimala on October 24 to take stock of the situation there, according to official sources.