Sabarimala Temple to open on Monday ; undeclared ban on media

Sabarimala Temple to open on Monday ; undeclared ban on media

Sabarimala, Nov 4: An undeclared ban is being imposed on media at Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidanam, the abode of Lord Ayyappa, here on Sunday.

Police stopped media from entering into Pamba base at Nilakkal as several media vehicles reached for giving live telecast in connection with the opening of the temple tomorrow.

Though the DGP, the Pathanamthitta District Collector and the Police Superintendent told there is no ban on media in Sabarimala, the police personnel deployed at Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidanam asked the media to leave the place based on a direction from their higher officials.

The Lord Ayyappa temple here will be opened on Monday at 5pm for a one-day Pooja on Tuesday as part of ‘Chithira Attavisesham,’ the birth anniversary celebration of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the ruler of erstwhile Travancore Royal Family.

Reacting to media curb in Sabarimala, former Chief Minister and AICC General Secretary Oommen Chandy alleged that the CPI(M)-led Left Government is planning to implement party's secret agenda in Lord Ayyappa temple.

The police became a tool in the hand of CPI(M) Government and the ban on media is part of a secret agenda, Mr Chandy added. Kerala BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai said the devotees will not forgive the Government and its plan to break the customs and traditions with the support of huge police force.

BJP General Secretary MT Ramesh said the government will face the ire of people if it goes ahead with its hidden agenda in the name of SC order allowing the entry for women between the age group of 10-50 into the temple.

Meanwhile, the Janam TV team, who managed to reach at Sannidanam, has been asked by the police to leave the area. However, Janam TV team defied the police direction and continued there stating that thre was no court or magistrate level direction to ban media in the wake of single-day opening on November six.

Meanwhile, a three-day prohibitory order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) came into effect from November three night at four places -- Elavunkal, Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidanam in Pathanamthitta District.

About 2,700 police personnel including striking force 'Vajra' and 'Thunderbolt' were deployed at various places in Sabarimala. However, according to sources, the Government is also planning to send thousands of policemen to Sannidanam.

There were reports that two senior police officials -- Intelligence IG Vinod Kumar and IG P Vijayan, in-charge of security at Sannidanam -- went on leave a day before the opening of the temple, on Monday evening.

There is also reports that more officials will go on leave in protest against the Government decision to implement the SC order forcefully.

A high-level meeting of top police officials is also being held at Sannidanam to take stock of the situation in the wake of opening of temple.UNI