Pathanamthitta: Earlier, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on October 23 in a press meet had said that he cannot agree with the statement of thantris (priests) deciding to close the Sabarimala temple. Vijayan also said that a thantri can only decide on pujas of the temple, but doesn't have any rights to shut the temple doors.

Now, Ayyappa temple's thantris have again stated that if customs and rituals are violated at Sabarimala, they will close the sanctum sanctorum. They said this while conducting a discussion with IG MR Ajith Kumar. The cop met the thantris as the temple is set to open on Monday (November 5) for Chithira Aatta Visesham (an auspicious day according to the Malayalam calendar). The media is not allowed to talk to the thantri and the police have also placed a mobile jammer at Sannidhanam.

BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai has revealed that the decision to close the temple when rituals are violated at Sabarimala was taken by the thantri after discussing it with him.

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"Kandararu Rajeevaru (chief thantri) had called me when women tried to enter Sabarimala. He asked me whether closing the temple will amount to contempt of court. I promised him that he would not be alone even if a case of contempt of court is registered. He told me that he believes my words. This issue is a golden chance for us. We should exploit this to the maximum. Everyone has fallen in line with this agenda set by us", said Sreedharan Pillai.

Sreedharan Pillai added that he spoke to the thantri as an advocate and he will support the thantri in the contempt of court case. "Many people including the thantri have called me seeking judicial support. CPM is behind the contempt of court case filed against me. It was lodged by someone in the chief minister's office," said Pillai.

Meantime, 15 women police officers have been deployed at Sannidhanam. And the interesting part is that they are all aged 50 years and above. Earlier, Kerala’s deputy general of police Loknath Behra informed that 500 women police officers would be deployed in Sabarimala following the Supreme Court verdict. Select women officers will be trained specially to undertake various duties. "Even if a single lady wishes to enter the shrine, we will ensure full security is provided for her darshan," said KV Sreedharan, CPM leader, Kannur. When asked about the thantri's and devotees' decision to close the temple doors, Sreedharan said, "The government will abide by the Supreme Court verdict and the cops will act as per government's orders."

"The Left is scared. That is why they have deployed women, who are above the age of 50, in the temple because later they themselves will fall in trouble," said Yeshoda Sreedharan, an Ayyappa devotee.

The cops have clarified that no women have reached Sabarimala seeking police protection to visit the temple. "It is a waste of time, effort and resources to deploy massive security considering that no women will dare enter the shrine. No request letters from women of menstruating age have reached the cops or the collector's office," said Rupesh Chirakkal, BJP activist.

However, Hindu organisations have decided to bring 1500 women to protest in Sabarimala with Irumudikkettu if women below 50 attempt to enter Sabarimala. The police have informed that the devotees will not be allowed to camp at Sannidhanam for more than 24 hours.