Phones banned at Sabarimala due to misuse of pictures

Devotees will be advised to keep their mobile phones switched off and those who use a mobile phone at the temple premises will be initially warned and stringent actions like the seizure of phones would be initiated against repeated violators, N Vasu, president of the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple, told DH. Photo/PTI

Mobile phone use has been banned at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple premises in the view of the misuse of pictures of the temple, especially the sanctum sanctorum and even the deity.

Devotees will be advised to keep their mobile phones switched off and those who use a mobile phone at the temple premises will be initially warned and stringent actions like the seizure of phones would be initiated against repeated violators, N Vasu, president of the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple, told DH.

Recently, there were instances of some devotees taking a video of the sanctum sanctorum and the main deity and posting it on the social media. The Devaswom Ombudsman, Justice P R Raman, who visited Sabarimala temple recently to oversee facilities for pilgrims, had also suggested a strict ban on mobile phone use at the temple premises citing instances of pictures of temple sanctum sanctorum being posted by pilgrims on social media.

Mr. Vasu said that instances of pilgrims using phones near the sanctum sanctorum and causing inconvenience to other pilgrims were also noticed. Hence it was decided to strictly enforce a ban on mobile phone use in the temple premises. In order to enforce the ban, security personal will advice the pilgrims near the entrance of the temple to switch off their phones. Loudspeaker announcements on mobile phone ban would be also made

A ban was imposed on mobile phone use at all temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board, including Sabarimala temple, about a year ago. But it was not being enforced strictly, said the TDB president.

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