Thiruvananthapuram : With Sabarimala Thantri’s (Chief Priest) family openly disregarding the Travancore Devaswom Board’s (TDB) move to seek explanation from him for sudhikalasam (purification ritual) performed after two women between 10-50 years of age entered the Hill Shrine, the stage for another warfront between the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Sangh Parivar has been set.
The Devaswom Board’s decision to ask for explanation from the Thantri appeared to be an aftermath of Chief Minister reprimanding him in a public party meeting and advising him to step down. Soon after the news of Devaswom Board’s move to corner Thantri was made public, Sangh Parivar outfits came out to his rescue.
In its show cause notice the Devaswom Board directed Thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru to submit his version of the events within 15 days. Prior to Rajeevaru furnishing his views before the Board, the Thantri family has come out questioning the authority of the Board to ask for explanation from the Thanthri. The Board had sought explanation from the Thantri after considering the report submitted by the Devaswom Commissioner.
The Devaswom Commissioner N.Vasu in his report has accused the Thantri of violating the Devaswom manual. Even though the Thantri is not a subordinate employee of the Board, he does not have the right to shut the sanctum sanctorum and perform ‘Sudhikalasam‘ without the approval of the Devaswom Board authorities he said. The Commissioner also argued that the ‘Sudhikalasam’ may attract provisions of contempt of court against the Board.
Thazhamon Thantri family in its statement reminded the Devaswom Board that they got the Thantri status of Sabarimala not from the Devaswom Board. On the other hand, they were blessed with the Thantriship by Lord Parasurama and that was in the year B.C 100. Regarding the rituals prevailing in a particular temple, the Thantri of that temple is the final authority. So many court verdicts have upheld the Thantri’s rights regarding rituals and customs . So the state Government and Devaswom Board have no right to question Thantri in matters relating to rituals, the Thantri family pointed out.
The aggressive posture taken by the Thantri family on Sabarimala can be viewed as a straight retaliation to the Chief Minister who had loudly argued for women’s entry to the Hilltop Shrine.
Meanwhile the Thantri family and the Government locked horns regarding the issue of women’s entry. The legal luminaries opine that the Government and TDB can’t have a smooth ride in this matter due to a lot of questions of law and faith involved in it.
However Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the government has the authority to remove the Thantri and has done so in the past.