TDB seeks explanation from Sabarimala head priest

Kerala's apex temple body has sought an explanation from Sabarimala head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru over the revelation by the BJP state chief that he had consulted him before threatening the closure of the hill shrine if women in the menstrual age group entered it.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Lord Ayyappa temple, however, made it clear that the procedure was just a formality as the 'tantri' (head priest) had already rejected the saffron party's claim.

Devaswom Commissioner N. Vasu recently sent a notice to Rajeevaru, seeking an explanation from him after the BJP state president P.S Sreedharan Pillai's claim had triggered a widespread controversy in the state.

"The TDB has full faith in the tantri. He has already rejected in public the BJP chief's claim and explained his stand. We believe and respect his words," TDB president A. Padmakumar told.

"The explanation was sought just to have a clarity on what had happened. It is not for initiating any action against the head priest," he said, adding that the recent TDB meeting had discussed the issue.

Generally, the explanation should be furnished within seven days, board sources said.

At the height of dramatic protests against the entry of women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa shrine, Rajeevaru had on October 19 threatened to shut the sanctum sanctorum if two young women, who had been escorted by police, were allowed to reach the 'sannidhanam' (temple complex).