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HomeNationNewly-installed gold plated mast of Sabarimala temple found damaged, five held

Newly-installed gold plated mast of Sabarimala temple found damaged, five held

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Sabarimala temple found damaged AV

The newly-installed gold plated mast at the famed Lord Ayyappa Temple was found damaged on Sunday, triggering widespread concern among devotees.

Five persons from Andhra Pradesh have been arrested in connection with the incident after examination of CCTV footage. The accused have confessed to the crime, claiming that they did it out of devotion, said police. Pathanamthitta SP Satish Bino said CCTV footage showed the accused pouring some liquid at the foot of the gold-coated flag mast.

Sabarimala, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, attracts millions of devotees across the country and abroad during the three-month annual pilgrimage season from November-January.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed police to carry out a detailed enquiry into the incident and apprehend the culprits. “Top police officials and forensic experts have rushed to the sannidhanam (temple premises),” he said in a Facebook post.

The damage was noticed in the afternoon after the rituals were over, temple sources said.

TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan said temple guards had apprehended three persons, including an elderly man in this connection after examining CCTV visuals at the shrine. “The CCTV visuals showed that three persons were seen spraying some liquid at the bottom of panchavargathara. We suspect that the liquid was ‘rasam’ (mercury),” he said.

The persons were handed over to police and further details would be known only after a detailed probe.

Meanwhile, State Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said the damaging of the panchavargathara using mercury or some other such chemical substance was “mysterious.” The preliminary assumption of police was that the incident occurred after the afternoon pooja rituals, he said.

However, the damaged portions of the newly installed gold-plated mast at Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple have been restored.

The works were finished in the wee hours of Monday by a team headed by Parumala Ananthan Achari. It took nearly three hours to finish the repairing works. Mercury was removed from the base of the mast to regain the lost shine.

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