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Sabarimala: Notice to close meat shops during Thiruvabharanam procession angers ‘seculars’, meat and animal carcasses found on path later

Devotees, led by several Panchayat members, had spotted the meat and animal carcasses hours before the procession was to pass and had rushed to wash and clean the spot.

Meat and animal carcasses were reportedly found thrown on the road where the annual Thiruvabharanam procession for Sabarimala temple was set to pass through. As per reports, the Thiruvabharanam procession is a traditional procession of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala where the jewellery to be worn by the deity is taken in a grand procession from Pandalam to the main shrine at Sabarimala.

Three sacred caskets are used for carrying Thiruvabharanam ornaments made by the Pandalam king for his son, Lord Ayyappa, along with pooja utensils to Sabarimala temple. They are the Thriuvabharana Petti (sacred ornaments casket, the silver vessel casket, and the Kodi Petti (flag casket). The Thiruvabharanam procession takes a traditional route to Sabarimala, covering a distance of 83 km on foot. The boxes are carried on the head by 12 people. Thousands of devotees participate in the grand procession.

As per a report in Organiser, meat and animal carcasses were found dumped on the Mandiram-Vadaserikkara road, where the Thiruvabharanam procession was to pass. Devotees, led by several Panchayat members, had spotted the meat and animal carcasses hours before the procession was to pass and had rushed to wash and clean the spot.

As per reports, an order was passed by Panchayat Secretary on January 6 to keep all the meat and fish shops along the Mandiram-Vadaserikkara road on 13 and 14 January for the Thiruvabharanam procession.

Some local groups, reportedly Islamist and communist outfits had objected to such an order. They had reportedly stated that such an order is against the Kerala government’s ‘progressive’ stand. Many social media users had also shared the order and had outraged over the issue, complaining that it is against ‘secular’ values.

meat and carcasses on Mandiram-Vadaserikkara road being cleaned before the procession, image via Organiser

However, Panchayat President Shaji Manappallil of the Congress had stated that the order to close meat and fish shops during the days of Thiruvabharanam procession has been a regular practice since the last few years after local Hindu outfits had complained of poultry waste being discarded in an unhygienic way the nearby river and polluting the area.

Local Hindu outfits had complained that while the order of closure of the meat and fish shops has been a part of routine procedure being followed in the last few years, some groups are now deliberately trying to communalise the issue.

Panchayat officials have also stated that the controversy over the closure order of meat shops is misplaced as it is a part of regular practice to lower waste production and poultry waste dispersal.

Jyothi S, the Panchayat Secretary was quoted by Times Of India as saying, “It is a normal practice. We had cleaned up the path for the procession and still poultry waste was dumped yesterday. The notice is being misinterpreted. We have a facility for collection of poultry and meat waste, but some of the merchants don’t co-operate with it and that’s why the notice was issued as a precautionary step to avoid dumping of waste along the path of procession since it could lead to other issues also”.

Read: Congress, communists and Muslim League have attacked the root of our faith in Sabarimala: PM Modi in Tamil Nadu

The Thiruvabharanam procession has started from Pandalam on Monday and had passed through Vadaserikara on Tuesday. Saima S, the deputy director of the Panchayat Directorate had also stated that the issuance of notice to close meat and fish shops to avoid the dumping of meat and poultry waste is a routine affair. Some people are unnecessarily trying to create communal tension in the area by highlighting it.

She added that the Panchayat Secretary only wanted to ensure that the Hindu religious procession is carried out smoothly and there is no dumping of poultry waste on the path. It is a peaceful and proper way to conduct a religious event.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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