Thiruvabharanam may put Kerala's LDF in catch-22

Row over Lord Ayyappa's ornament may become double-edged sword for Left Democratic Front in Kerala

After the Sabarimala women entry issue, the ongoing row over the safety of 'Thiruvabharanam', the sacred ornaments of Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa, may become another double-edged sword for the ruling left-front in Kerala. 

With the Supreme Court expressing concerns over the safety of the ornaments, which is now kept by a section of the Pandalam Palace (the erstwhile custodians of the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple), the state government might be forced to take a stand on the matter. Alike the Sabarimala women entry issue, the custodianship of the sacred ornaments of the lord might also trigger a clash between faith and adhering to court directive.

The present row was triggered by a long-pending dispute between two factions of the Pandalam palace - the Valiyakoyikal and the Kochukoyikal. The Valiyakoyikal is now having custodianship of the ornaments and it is kept at the Srambickal Palace adjoining the Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple at Pandalam. The Kochukoyikal faction approached the court against the supremacy of members of the Valiyakoyikal faction in the committee entrusted with the ornaments custody.

However, the SC which considered the case suggested that since the ornaments were believed to be presented by Lord Ayyappa's foster father Pandalam King to the lord, the ornaments should be preferably in government's custody to ensure its security. The court also appointed retired judge C N Ramachandran to prepare in inventory.

Even as Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran initially maintained that the state government would take over the Thiruvabharanam if the court-ordered so, the next day the minister toned down his statement by maintaining that there was no need for the government to take over the Thiruvabharanam, but would provide additional security if there was any security concern.

The left-front in Kerala faced a major setback after it tried to implement the SC order allowing women of all ages to Sabarimala by lifting a ban on entry of women on 10-50 age group. But after the setback it faced in the last Lok Sabha polls, the left-front government toned down its stand on women entry issue. Hence on the Thiruvabharanam issue, the left-front government is unlikely to take a stand that would hurt sentiments of devotees.

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