TDB told not to permit pilgrims to Sabarimala

The government has directed the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), Pathanamthitta District Collector and District Police Chief (DPC) not to permit pilgrims to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple during the annual festival that begins on March 29 due to COVID-19 threat, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran has said.

The temple will open on March 28 afternoon for the 10-day festival that begins with the customary Kodiyettu on March 29. The festival will come to a close on April 7 with the arat.

The Minister said a total of nine persons had been tested positive for the virus in the district. As many as 235 primary contacts and 501 secondary contacts of the infected persons had been home quarantined, he said.

Mr. Surendran said the government launched a series of disease prevention measures following the second spell of COVID-19 in the State with Ranni in Pathanamthitta as its epicentre.

The District Medical Officer in Pathanamthitta reported to the District Collector on the serious implications of permitting pilgrims coming from different parts of the country.

The Collector submitted a report to the government recommending denial of permission to the pilgrims to Sabarimala, he said. The Minister said the government directive to the TDB was on the basis of the report submitted by the Collector.

TDB stand

Meanwhile, TDB president N. Vasu told The Hindu that the board would take appropriate decision on the matter at its meeting to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Tantri (chief priest) said the directives issued by the Union and State governments were applicable to Sabarimala pilgrims too and hence they should avoid journey for the time being in the larger interests of society.

The Tantri further called upon the devotees to display their devotion by not visiting the temple.

Melsanthi clarifies

The Melsanthi (head priest) said that rituals such as Utsavabali and Sreebhoothabali would have to be conducted. He said that devotees should keep themselves away from Sabarimala. Those who have already booked certain offerings (puja) need not worry as it would be performed as decided, Mr. Namboodiri said.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:48:23 PM |

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