An official probe into the recent allegation about some young women entering the famous Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala has found that no devotee in the banned age group offered worship there. The probe was ordered by Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran after circulation of photographs in the social media purportedly showing women in the banned age group at the hill shrine. In its report submitted to the government, the Devaswom Vigilance Department has stated that no further action was required on the issue as the allegation was found baseless. “It was found in the investigation that the women shown in the photographs were above 50 years of age. As the allegations were found to have no substance, there is no need of any further action in this regard,” the report said.
The government had directed the department to initiate a probe and find out the veracity of the photographs circulated on the social media, purportedly showing some young women in the temple despite a ban on their entry. There are restrictions on the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in the shrine, where the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa is considered to be a ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (perennial celibate) by devotees.
In another matter, the Vigilance found ‘gross dereliction’ of duty by some officials in allowing film actor Jayaram, also a known percussionist, to play ‘Idaykka’ (an instrument) violating the temple customs. The officials were also rapped for allowing some people to offer special pooja out of turn.