The Kerala High Court on Monday took a serious note of the manner in which a guard appointed by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) regulated movement of devotees who had arrived at the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala for the Makaravilakku ritual on January 14.
A bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and P G Ajithkumar directed the Board to give details of the Devaswom guard concerned and the action, if any, taken against him.
”The manner in which the Devaswom guard by name, ‘Arun’, regulated the movement of pilgrims in front of Sreekovil, through the first row, was in flagrant violation of the directions issued by this court in the decision in Sajeev Sastharam,” the bench said.
The video of the incident was widely aired on TV channels.
The incident occurred while the guard was regulating the huge rush of devotees at the shrine on January 14 after Lord Ayyappa was adorned with the holy jewels, ‘Thiruvabharanam’.
During the proceedings, the bench said that it had in another petition — Sajeev Sastharam vs. State of Kerala — directed the guards engaged by the TDB and the police officers on duty at Sopanam to regulate movement of devotees through the barricades in an appropriate manner that would cause least inconvenience to pilgrims.
However, on January 14, after the deity was adorned with the ‘Thiruvabharanam’, ”there occurred certain issues on crowd management, in front of Sreekovil at Sannidhanam,” the bench said.
It further said that the manner in which the guard acted was in violation of the high court orders on crowd management.
The court also called for reports regarding the incident from the Special Police Officer at Sannidhanam and the Sopanam Officer.
The amicus curiae in the case told the bench that the Special Commissioner , Sabarimala would also be filing a report on the incident.