Govt will not probe veracity of Makarajyothi

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 20 (PTI) Kerala Chief MinisterV S Achuthanandan today ruled out any probe to check theveracity of ''Makarajyothi'', considered a celestial light byAyyappa devotees, in the wake of the stampede that claimed thelives of 102 Sabarimala pilgrims.

The Government is not going to inquire whether it is adivine phenomenon or a man-lit exercise as essentially thewhole issue was a matter of faith for millions, Achuthanandantold reporters here.

"The Government is neither going to consultastrologers nor scientists to ascertain the veracity ofMakarajyothi, which millions believe is divine and throng thehill shrine with intense desire to see it", he said.

''Makarajyothi'' is a light that flickers across theskies above Ponnambalamedu, east of the Sabarimala shrineduring the ''Makarasamkramam,'' pooja of the hill shrine,marking the culmination of the two-month pilgrimage seasonfrom mid-November.

It was during the Makarajyothi on January 14 that theworst-ever Sabarimala pilgrimage tragedy had occurred whenhome-bound pilgrims were caught in a stampede at Pullumedu.

Traditionally, the celestial light is held in highreverence by believers as a divine phenomenon but rationalistshave for long dubbed it as a man-lit fire arranged by thetemple authorities and government agencies.

The debate over the issue has re-surfaced in the wakeof the Pullumedu stampede last week.

A member of the family of high priests of Sabarimala,Rahul Eswar has said the light appearing above is man-litwhile the actual Makarajyothi is a bright star that ascendsacross the skies on the occasion of Makarasamkramam, the timewhen the sun moves from ''dhanu rasi'' (Sagittarius sign) to''Makaram rasi'' (Capricorn).

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