Kochi: Kerala high court has questioned the state government as to why top police officers, accused in criminal cases, have been deployed in Sabarimala. Referring to inspector general (IG) Vijay Sakhare and  superintendent of police (SP) Yatheesh Chandra, the court observed, “What was the point of deploying police officers, who do not know how to read and write Malayalam.”

The court was considering a batch of petitions, demanding to revoke Section 144 in Sabarimala. The court also asked the government to submit the details of the two police officers in Sabarimala.

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The government told the court that prohibitory orders were clamped at Sannidhanam based on Intelligence reports. “Earlier too, there were protests when the temple opened. The orders were given after real devotees were blocked by the protesters,” advocate general, representing the government, said to the court.

The court asked the government not to prevent chanting of 'saranam' and allow devotees to go alone or as groups to the temple.

The court also questioned the advocate general as to why Section 144 was not removed, despite its directions. The explanation in this regard should be submitted in the court on Friday. The court also asked the government to submit documents and orders on the basis of which Section 144 was imposed in Sabarimala.

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Sabarimala temple's income, generated through offerings made by devotees, donations, and sale of Appam/Aravana (prasadam), has shown a decline of Rs 7.27 crore, according to the accounts of the first three days of the ongoing Mandalam season. When Rs 11,91,87,940 was collected in the last season this time, this year just Rs 4,64,93,705 was obtained. There is a substantial decrease in all main offerings made in the temple. 

Last year during this time, the income from the sale of Aravana was Rs 5.09 crore, but this time it was Rs 1.76 crore, resulting in a loss of Rs 3.32 crore. An average increase of 10% in the profit has been the normal trend, but this year this drastic decline in profit is attributed to restrictions imposed in Sabarimala.