Protesters Were Ready to Spill Blood in Sabarimala to Force Closure of Temple, Says Activist Rahul Easwar
Released on bail after being arrested over the stir, he claimed 20 Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of women were ready to inflict knife injuries on themselves which would have forced the priests to close the temple gates on account of impurity.
File photo of activist Rahul Easwar
Kochi: Activist Rahul Easwar, among those who spearheaded the frenzied protests in Sabarimala, on Wednesday said they had a contingency plan to force the closure of the temple by spilling blood on its premises by some devotees in case any woman in the 'barred' age group managed to reach it.
Released on bail after being arrested over the stir, he claimed 20 Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of women in the age group of 10 and 50 were ready to inflict knife injuries on
themselves on the temple premises which would have forced the priests to close the gates on account of impurity.
"Had their blood fallen on the floor of the temple, that would have forced the priests to shut the shrine for three days for purification rituals," Easwar, president of the 'Ayyappa Dharma Sena', told reporters here.
Easwar, who was arrested along with 19 others a day after the temple opened for monthly pujas on October 17, said those leading the agitation had discouraged the devotees from taking such an extreme step.
He, however, claimed devotees may take such a step if the government facilitated the entry of women in menstrual age into the temple of Lord Ayyappa, the eternally celibate deity, during the coming annual three-month long pilgrim season.
The temple witnessed high drama for six days with around a dozen women in 10-50 age group being prevented by protesting devotees from entering it after it opened for the first time after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on women of menstruating age.
After two women, including an activist managed to reach close to the shrine on October 19, the tantri (head priest) had threatened to close the doors if women were escorted into the sanctum sanctorum even as the devotees too resisted their entry strongly, prompting them to turn back.
Easwar, who himself belongs to the 'tantri' family, rejected the claim by the Kerala government that the temple was owned by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). "Lord Ayyappa is the owner of the temple," he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday criticised temple tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru, who had said he would close the temple and go away if women were allowed inside the shrine, and the agitation by assistants of priests who had protested near the holy 18 steps.
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