Temple wheelchair row: Priest speaks to NDTV

Temple wheelchair row: Priest speaks to NDTV
Mysore: The trip to the Sriranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangapatna near Mysore was a last minute decision for Anikesh's family. The decision however ended up causing them pain when their 23-year-old son Anikesh was not allowed to enter the temple on his wheelchair.

The temple authorities defended themselves saying there was a communication gap because of language - and that no wheelchair is allowed inside the temple premises because of access problems.

NDTV spoke to the chief priest of the temple, Prasanna Kumar. Here's the transcript of the interview:

NDTV: Why are wheelchairs not allowed near the sanctum sanctorum?

Prasanna Kumar: We have our own tradition. We don't allow wheelchair from outside into the main part, but we have our own wheelchair in the office. They can carry (people) in that chair and get them right inside.

NDTV: According to what rules are wheelchair not allowed?

Prasanna Kumar: It's not just in Srirangapatna, this is the rule in every temple. We told the parents, the wheelchair can stay there, but if you wish, you could carry the child and get him inside for the darshan. Many people do that. But even when we told them, they did not listen. So I told them you could speak to the executive officer of the temple and if he permits, I have no problem.

NDTV: Colonel Kuber had a handicapped child. Maybe you could have shown a little more understanding and allowed the wheelchair?

Prasanna Kumar: I could have, but these are traditions being followed from decades. I really have no problem. Even now, if they permit it, I will.
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