In a controversial decision, the Kerala government has banned Hindu devotees from performing ancient rituals at the Kodungallur Bhadrakali temple in Kerala and has deployed the police force to block the devotees from performing the same.
According to the reports, the Thrissur administration has restricted the ancient rituals at the temple dedicated to Maa Bhadrakali, citing coronavirus restrictions. The decision to ban the ritual has been taken arbitrarily by bureaucrats and devaswom employees without consulting with the Hindu devotees.
Hindu devotees and local Hindu leaders have made repeated requests to authorities to allow them to practice their rituals and celebrate the Meena Bharani festival. The oracles had earlier protested the scaling down of festivities by performing their ritual dance called Thullal. However, the district administration has canceled the celebrations without paying any heed.
According to the Hindu activist group ‘Reclaim Temples’, District Collector Shanavas banned the ancient rituals at the Kodungallur Bhadrakali temple in Kerala. The district administration had deployed a massive force to ensure the devotees and Oracles do not perform any ritual at the temple.
Hindu devotees perform annual ritual at Kodungallur temple on Meena Bharani
Every year in March, the Oracles from all over the state visit the Sree Kurumba Bhagavati Temple at Kodungallur for the auspicious Meena Bharani, which marks the news year celebration. They encircle the temple in their traditional attire, and as they attain divine trance, they hit their foreheads with their sickle-shaped swords. Then, the Oracles nurse the wounds with turmeric powder. They believe that the wound will heal due to divine intervention.
Lately, the traditions of Oracles, including animal sacrifices for Goddess Bhadrakali, have been stopped citing animal rights and religious reforms. The traditions have been replaced with the offering of the blood of birds called “Kozhikallu Moodal”, scheduled to be held this week. However, the Kerala administration has cancelled the rituals citing coronavirus restrictions.
Originally a Shiva Temple, it is believed that Parasuram himself installed the Kali murti near that of Bhagwan Shiva. The Kodungallur temple was also an important temple during the Chera period, with Kodungallur being their capital.
Administration cites Covid restrictions, bans performing rituals
Earlier, in a decision taken by the town council officials and elected representatives, the devotees were allowed to perform the rituals. However, the police rejected the proposals citing Covid-19 and have now closed three out of the temple’s four gates. Only a handful of devotees are being allowed to enter.
Shockingly, the police have warned the local lodges and hotels not to rent out rooms for the devotees. The police are also stopping vehicles entering the city and are being sent back. No shops have been allowed to open in the vicinity of the temple.
The Kerala police have taken over the whole town and issued a strict warning to locals in the area not to allow guests. The police have promised further action to clamp down on this year’s festival.
Defying these threats, some ardent devotees have started to arrive and some oracles did perform their thullal and other rituals yesterday.
Kerala Police attempting to manhandle and obstruct devotees who came to perform rituals infront of the Goddess at Kodungallur Devi temple at Kerala.— Reclaim Temples (@ReclaimTemples) March 10, 2021
Later the devotees performed rituals as the police watched from a distance. pic.twitter.com/4sK0Avq4DJ
In the video shared by ‘Reclaim Temples’, police personnel were seen all around the temple while devotees who came to perform rituals in front of the Goddess at Kodungallur Devi temple. However, the devotees performed rituals amidst the police presence.