HC-appointed panel to visit Sabarimala Sannidhanam

HC appointed high-power panel visits Nilakkal and Pamba
The committee was appointed following large-scale complaints that facilities at the temple complex were meagre.
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Nilakkal/Pamba: The three-member high-power monitoring committee, appointed by the Kerala High court will visit Sannidhanam on Tuesday and hold discussions with officials of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.

The high court had appointed the committee following large scale complaints that the facilities at the temple complex were meagre.

The committee, comprising retired judges P R Raman and S Sirijagan and DGP A Hemachandran,  visited Nilakkal, the base camp and Pamba on Monday to assess the facilities for Sabarimala pilgrims.

Justice Raman said he was satisfied with the facilities at Nilakkal.

A false campaign was going on, saying that there were very few facilities for pilgrims at the two places, DGP Hemachandran said at Nilakkal.

"The media should telecast the real picture," he told reporters.

However, more facilities needed to be given to police personnel, deployed for temple duty, he said.

The members visited Pamba, which saw the maximum devastation during the August floods with many facilities for the pilgrims, including toilets, being washed away.

The committee, which held its first meeting at Kochi on Sunday, had said it would assess the existing facilities at the temple complex and would make suggestions to add more facilities, if needed.

"Our top priority will be basic needs like toilets and water facilities. These things should be available for all. Food must be served properly. These are the things that will be assessed", Justice Raman had said.

HC appointed high-power panel visits Nilakkal and Pamba
The high-power committee members travel by a KSRTC bus from Nilakkal to Pamba.

The Kerala High Court had on November 27 ordered that no protests or demonstrations should be held at the 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex) of the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, holding that it was not a place for such activities.

It had also set aside the 'unilateral' restrictions imposed by police on the devotees and appointed a three-member team as its observers there during the ongoing Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season.

The hill shrine had been witnessing protests by devotees and right wing groups against the government's decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict, permitting women of all age groups to pray at the temple.

Since the Apex court verdict, no women in the 10-50 age group has succeeded in offering prayers at the shrine, where the deity is "Naishtika Brahmachari" (perennial celebate),

The Ayyappa temple was opened on November 16 for the over two-month-long pilgrimage season amid tension.

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