The ban was lifted following protests by members of the Malekudiya community, who threatened not to construct the chariot for the Jatrotsava, if they are not allowed to undertake the ‘made snana’ ritual. More than 600 devotees later took part in the ritual.
The temple management had earlier banned the ritual, on the direction of the government, following opposition to the age-old practice. It had appealed to the devotees, through the media, not to undertake the ritual.
Sundar Bhat, the Puttur Assistant Commissioner and the temple administrative officer, held discussions with the devotees and later with the Deputy Commissioner, who directed that status quo be maintained.
Meanwhile, rumours spread that Brahmins would not be served food on the outer portion of the temple.
The devotees assembled at the office of the administrative officer and insisted that Brahmins should be served food there so that the ritual could be undertaken.
The devotees called up Religious Endowments Minister V S Acharya and appealed to him not to stop the practice unilaterally. Finally, the decision to maintain status quo was arrived at.
The administrative officer later announced that the practice would not be banned unilaterally and would take place as usual this year.
A solution would be found to end the controversy through ‘Ashtamangala Prashne,’ to be undertaken in future for the development of the pilgrimage centre, he said.
‘Didn’t bow to pressure’
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner N S Chennappa Gowda said the decision to revoke the ban on ‘madesnana’ was not taken bowing to the threat by the members of the Malekudiya community. Members of the Malekudiya community do not take part in the ritual, Gowda said.
Instead, the decision was arrived at only after confirming that it is not just members of the lower castes who were taking part in the ritual.
Also, ‘madesnana’ was not a ritual undertaken forcibly, he said. “According to the order of the High Court in a Public Interest Litigation in 2002, none can interfere in the religious rights of the people. Hence, the district administration cannot stop madesnana,” the DC clarified.