Sabarimala temple custodian, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), today extended time to Tantri Kantararu Rajeeveru to explain why a "purification" ritual was conducted following the visit of two women devotees to the Lord Ayyappa shrine just after New Year, said a board official.
"Till Sunday he was at Sabarimala. Now that he is free, he might have to take opinion from others before he gives his reply. So we gave him another 15 days time," TDB president A. Padmakumar told the media.
"Generally when a normal purification ritual is done, the tantri does not need to take the permission of the TDB, but what happened on January 2, was not a normal one," Mr Padmakumar added.
The temple was shut for an hour around 10.30 a.m., on January 2, for "purification rituals" after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed two women -- Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga, belonging to the hitherto banned age group -- completed a 'darshan' at 3.30 a.m. in Sabarimala.
"We have asked for an explanation from him (Rajeeveru), why the TDB permission was not sought," said Padmakumar.
On January 4, after serving the notice to the tantri, Mr Padmakumar said the purification ritual went against the directive of the Supreme Court that on September 28 allowed all women entry inside the shrine.
Action against the tantri for closing the shrine to conduct the "purification" ritual would depend on his explanation of the action, especially as Mr Vijayan had asked the TDB to take a serious look into the matter.
Confirming the entry of Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini then, the Chief Minister had said that the state abided by the apex court directive and had come down heavily on the tantri for the blatant violation.
Mr Vijayan had said that Rajeeveru has every right as a person to differ with the court order but if he was not able to digest the verdict, he could well have quit his post.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.