Kerala Govt to HC: No probe into Makarajyoti debate

Kochi, Jan 27 (PTI) The Kerala government today toldthe high court here that it does not propose to conduct anykind of probe into whether the light visible from theSabarimala shrine was a celestial phenomenon or man-made asthe issue is a matter of faith for millions of devotees.

The official submission came in response to the HighCourt''s query earlier seeking to know if ''Makarajyothi'' wasman-made and the difference between it and ''Makaravilakku'' inthe wake of the Pullumedu stampede that claimed the lives of102 Sabarimala pilgrims.

The tragedy occurred on January 14 when devotees hadgathered in large numbers to witness the ''Makarajyothi'', abeacon that fleetingly appears at dusk, marking theculmination of the two-month ''Makaravilakku'' season frommid-November.

The government pleader made the submission before aDivision bench comprising Justices Thothathil B Radhakrishnanand P S Gopinath, when three petitions, including that ofRationalists Association came up.

The pleader said Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan hasalready stated that the government does not want to hold anyprobe into the issue relating to ''Makarajyothi'' and''Makaravilakku.''

He referred to media reports quoting Achuthanandan assaying that the government was not going to such a probe asthe issue was a matter of faith for millions.

Meanwhile, since the matter was of public interest,the Devaswom bench, which monitors affairs relating to theshrine, posted the three petitions before Chief Justice JChelameswar for further hearing.

The Travancore Devaswom Board manages the Sabarimalatemple''s affairs.

While Sreekumar, a former Melsanthi (Priest) wanted ajudicial probe into the tragedy, another petitioner did notwant a probe.

The Rationalist Association did not want governmentmachinery to be involved in the lighting of ''Makaravilakku''.

Kantaru Maheswararu, the chief priest of Sabarimalatemple, had said after the stampede that the debate wasgenerated only to divert attention from the tragedy.

"Makarajyothi is the celestial star Siries and''Makaravilakku'' a symbolic deeparadhana (aarthi) lit atPonnamabelamedu," he had said. PTI COR UD BN RA BN

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