Sabarimala tantri removal not discussed, says TDB

Amid media reports that the LDF government in Kerala planned to remove the Sabarimala 'tantri', Travancore Devaswom Board, the apex temple body, said it had not even discussed the matter and the controversy was to create trouble in the coming 'Makaravilakku' festival.

TDB president A. Padmakumar told that there were several court verdicts on the appointment and powers of the 'tantri' (head priest) of Hindu shrines and the Board could not take a decision without taking into account all these.

However, the 'Kerala Tantri Samajam', an umbrella organisation of head priests of temples in the state, said that they would approach the Supreme Court and the Union government if the CPI(M)-led LDF government takes any decision to remove Kandararu Rajeevaru as the Sabarimala 'tantri'.

Rajeevaru faced harsh criticism from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and other ministers over the purification ceremony he carried out after the entry of two women of menstruating age at the hill shrine last week.

Senior Kerala minister G. Sudhakaran had even called him a 'Brahmin monster' for conducting the 'purification'.

"The 'tantri' is a symbol of caste devil. He is not a Brahmin. He is a Brahmin monster. If a Brahmin becomes a monster, he will be a terror," the minister had said.

After 42-year-old Bindu, a college lecturer and CPI(ML) activist from Kozhikode district's Koyilandy, and Kanakadurga, 44, a civil supplies department employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram, offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple on January 2, the sanctum sanctorum was closed under directive of 'tantri' to perform the 'purification' ritual, which used to be carried out during the time of the violation of temple customs.

(with news agency inputs)