Sloganeering in Sabarimala as police play truant

Sabarimala, Jan 14 (IANS) Hundreds of devout Sabarimala pilgrims on Saturday resorted to sloganeering to express their anger after police prevented them from viewing the celestial light.

The light appeared on the horizon thrice on Saturday evening from near the famed temple’s immediate premises.

A pilgrim, expressing his ire to IANS, said he has been a regular visitor on Makara Jyothi day (which falls today) for the past quarter of a century and was shocked to hear slogans: “We want justice… police go back”.

“There is a practice of allowing people to witness the celestial light on the horizon, from close quarters of the temple’s sanctum sanctorum,” a devotee said who did not wish to be identified.

“But we were shocked to see that police had erected barricades and shoved out numerous people who arrived very early. We were not allowed and instead the place was filled with policemen, who got the opportunity to witness the celestial light,” the devotee said.

Angered by this, the pilgrims — mostly non-Keralites — were forced to express their anger by sloganeering.

Lakhs of Sabarimala pilgrims witnessed the celestial light that appeared on the horizon thrice on Saturday evening.

The sighting of this celestial light, which in local parlance is called ‘Makara Jyothi’ and takes place every year on the first day of the Malayalam month in January, is believed to be the ultimate for a pilgrim and it’s most divine to see it within close quarters of the temple.

According to temple authorities, Saturday’s crowd is believed to be the highest at the famed temple.

The ‘Makara Jyothi’ is the most awaited event in the two-month-long Sabarimala temple season.

On Saturday, around 6.45 p.m., the celestial light appeared thrice on the horizon.