NSS, TDB, Tantris see endorsement of devotees’ stance
A large number of Ayyappa devotees assembled at the Valiyakoickal Sastha temple near the Pandalam palace on Thursday morning seeking blessings for a favourable decision from the apex court on the review petitions on women’s entry to the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. The prayer session continued till 11 a.m.
The head priest lighted a lamp with the fire brought from the sanctum sanctorum. Similar prayer sessions were held at other temples in different parts of the district.
A good number of devotees welcomed the SC verdict, referring the review petitions to a higher Bench. Pandalam Palace Managing Committee president Sasikumara Varma said the verdict was a great relief to Ayyappa devotees. He expressed the hope that the government would not interfere in the religious and ritualistic matters of a community.
Nair Service Society general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair termed the verdict a victory of the believers. Sabarimala Tantris Kandararu Rajeevararu and Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu too welcomed the ruling and cautioned against mixing religion with laws and politics.
Mr. Rajeevararu said the reference that Ayyappa devotees should be seen as a separate sect of devotees was good. Sabarimala Melsanthi V.N. Vasudevan Namboodiri said the verdict would please Ayyappa devotees.
N. Vasu, former Devaswom Commissioner, now appointed the new president of the Travancore Devaswom Board, said the board was with the devotees. Prayar Gopalakrishnan, former TDB president, expressed hope that the government would not venture into anti-devotee activities, considering the socio-political circumstances.
A. Padmakumar and K.P. Sankaradas, former TDB president, and member, said the verdict would facilitate an amiable atmosphere for the smooth conduct of the pilgrim season.