New Delhi: Almost two weeks and much hullabaloo later, Kerala’s Guruvayur Devasam board officials on Wednesday said the purification process carried out in temple premises after Union Minister Vylar Ravi’s visit was a mistake.
The Board members said the thantri (priest) of the temple was perhaps misled about the religious identity of Ravi’s grandson whose first-feeding ceremony was held in the temple on May 21.
The officials say that since Ravikrishna's son was not baptised, there were enough reasons to believe that he is a Hindu.
The purification ritual – that sparked off a huge debate about faith and religious identities – was ordered when the chief priest ordered ceremonies such as sprinkling of holy water after the minister’s visit.
The contention was that the minister's wife Mercy was a Christian and the temple does not allow entry to non-Hindus.
Though Mercy was not present at the function, he said his son and grandson were seen as her non-Hindu progeny.
Non-Hindus are not allowed entry into the Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple in Kerala, as is the case with some Hindu temples in India where age-old religious diktat is followed.
Ravi had lashed out at the temple management on May 22 for carrying out the rituals and said his family was contemplating legal action against them over the incident.
This was, in fact, the second time that a face-off erupted between the Ravi family and the temple authorities.
"My wife is Christian, but I'm Hindu. I am a born Hindu. My children and grandchildren are born Hindus and they are all practicing Hindus," he had declared.
A similar ritual was performed when Krishna had visited the temple after his marriage seven years back.
"There was a similar controversy when my son got married in Guruvayur. My caste was not allowed temple entry. We protested against it. This incident is shocking. My family is agitated," Ravi had said.
The head priest of the Guruvayur temple, Sathisan Namboodiripad, also made it clear that non-Hindus will not be allowed into the temple.
"Temple traditions are not such that they should be changed with the times. The purpose of this meeting was to make this clear," he said.