A reign of terror has been unleashed at the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala, the holy shrine in the Western Ghats, by the Kerala Police and the CPI-M led government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan.
As on Tuesday morning, all efforts are on to oust the devotees from the temple premises by the police and some of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activists (the youth wing of the CPI-M) deployed at the pilgrimage centre. All toilets have been locked personally by the Inspector General of Police under orders from chief minister Vijayan.
All lodges have been locked and sealed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) leaving thousands of devotees high and dry in the premises of the temple. All drinking water services have been cut since Monday evening. Child devotees who reached the shrine since Monday have been left without drinking water and food.
“The mission is to smoke out the devotees from Sabarimala and scare them away. Police have been interrogating the devotees by asking questions like why did you come here, who asked you to come here and how long you know this deity Ayyappa,” said Rajendran, a devotee from Kannur.
Yet another strategy by the Kerala Police to cheat the devotees ended in a major fiasco. The police had deployed hundreds of middle-aged women cops wearing tight pants and shirts tried to woo the young male devotees by winking and also by voluptuous looks.
Though thousands of devotees have assembled at Sabarimala, the shrine wears the look f a ghost town with all shops closing down as per the directive of the police force. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is reportedly watching the proceedings beamed by Janam TV as it is the only channel broadcasting independently. Rest of the channels like Asianet, Manorama, Mathrubhumi and Kairali are feeding the viewers what the political masters at the AKG centre (CPI-M headquarters) want them to do.
“The police have been instructed by the chief minister to make life difficult for all the devotees so that they would stay away from the temple in future. Efforts are in to bring in women in the age group of 10-50 to the shrine,” said a special branch police officer.
Though Monday evening saw a lady devotee aged 30 making an effort to enter the shrine, intervention by the devotees made her beat a hasty retreat. The woman, wife of Viji of Chertallai, a CPI-M leader who is an accused in a murder case came to Sabarimala as per the directive of her husband who had been assured by the CPI-M that he would be acquitted of all charges if he makes his wife visit the temple. Though not a believer, the wife had reservations in going to the shrine in violation of the customs practiced in the temple. But she was threatened by her husband asking either to fall in line or meet the fate of the victim whom he had murdered in the past.
The opposition of the devotees to the CPI-M diktat could be understood from an incident at Lord Ayyappa Temple in Chennai’s Mahabalipuram suburb. “More than 300 Ayyappa devotees pack their “Irumudikettu” routinely from this temple But this time we had just 18 devotees from here who left for Sabarimala,” Ashok, an office bearer of the temple, told Team PGurus.
Prof M G S Narayanan, former chairman, Indian Council of Historical Research lambasted the CPI-M government for its intransigent attitude towards the Sabarimala Temple. “This decision to admit women of childbearing age to Sabarimala is in gross violation of the customs practiced in the temple. There is every possibility of Pinarayi Vijayan may end up as the last CPI-M chief minister of Kerala,” said Prof Narayanan.
Even as the report is despatched from the shrine, there are apprehensions among the devotees that CPI-M activists too have infiltrated into the groups of devotees with the aim of creating trouble. They hope that the police could be provoked which would lead to a lathi charge or firing.
Some of the media persons, who are known for their leanings to Marxist and Maoist ideologies are airing fake news from the holy shrine. R Kiran Babu, editor, News 18 Keralam, the news channel owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group was the leader of the Maoist Group of leaders who through his dispatches and social media postings spread anti-Hindutva reports.
At the time of despatching this report, the Police have completely taken over the Pampa-Sabarimala route and have taken the Thanthri in their custody. The Thanthri and the chief priest have been asked to obey the directives from the police, even if it is for reciting the Saranam hymns.
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