Pathanamthitta (Ker) | A man allegedly trespassed into Ponnambalamedu here, a hill top area ritually connected with the famed Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, and performed some poojas and rituals there, triggering a row in Kerala.
In a purported video which surfaced on social media, the accused man, reportedly a Tamil Nadu native, could be seen sitting on a platform atop the Ponnambalamedu Hills, located about four km from the Sabarimala temple, and chanting mantras and doing some rituals.
According to Ayyappa devotees, Ponnambalamedu is a revered place as the auspicious 'Makaravilakku' is lit there annually marking the culmination of the pilgrimage season at the hill shrine.
A high security zone, the place, located in a deep forest, comes under the direct control of the state forest department.
Besides the accused man, four others also appeared on the brief video, which showed the visuals of Sabarimala temple from there as well.
K Ananthagopan, president of the Travancore Devaswom Board which manages the hill shrine, said it is an emotional issue for Ayyappa devotees.
He also said the Board would soon lodge a complaint with the state police head and the wildlife chief in this regard.
The TDB chief said the accused man in the video, identified as one Narayana Swamy, had worked as a temporary accomplice of a "keezhshanthi" (sub-priest) at the Sabarimala temple years ago and had been dismissed from service due to poor character.
Hitting out at local officials of the Forest Department, he said how could a group of persons trespass into a high security zone and do something like this.
Ananthagopan disagreed with the Forest department's version that the accused might have come through some other way.
He also questioned the relevance of registering a case after all these thing had happened.
"The TDB will soon lodge a complaint with the both the police and forest chiefs in this regard seeking a serious probe into the matter," he said.
The TDB chief also said it was understood that the accused man had done all these deliberately to tarnish the sanctity of the Lord Ayyappa Temple.
He said the incident was suspected to have happened four days ago but he had no official confirmation of the date.
Meanwhile, Forest department sources said a case had been registered and an investigation is underway into the incident.