Judicial Custody For 5 For Damaging Golden Mast at Sabarimala Temple
The accused told police that they threw the chemical-dipped cloth at the new mast as it was a custom to offer nine metals to a new installation.
A 12-metre tall golden mast was installed at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
Thiruvananthapuram: The five persons arrested on Sunday for damaging the newly installed golden flag mast at the Lord Ayyappa Sabarimala Temple were sent to judicial custody on Monday.
The arrested - Satyanarayana Reddy, Sudhakar Reddy, D Venkitta Rao, DNL Chaudhary and Uma Maheshwar Reddy - are all from Andhra Pradesh, police said.
They have been booked under section 195 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the Indian Penal Code. It carries a punishment of up to two years of imprisonment, or fine, or both.
According to the police, all the accused are farmers and regular visitors to the temple. They told police that they threw the chemical-dipped cloth at the new mast as it was a custom to offer nine metals to a new installation. One of those metals was mercury, which damaged the gold mast. Police said there appears to be no larger conspiracy behind it.
The ceremonial installation of the Rs 3.2-crore flag mast was held on Sunday between 11:50 am and 1:30 pm. Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the damage could have been intentional, but it can be easily rectified.
The 12-metre teakwood stem of the temple mast has been covered with gold-covered cylindrical copper drums. A large number of devotees from different parts of South India were camping at Sabarimala to witness the event.
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