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Copper plate inscription on Sabarimala fake: Vijayan

 
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 11 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday admitted in the Assembly that the copper plate inscription on Sabarimala in possession of now arrested antique dealer Monson Mavunkal was fake.

Vijayan was replying to questions about the manner in which Mavunkal took everyone, including then State Police chief Loknath Behra and serving Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham, who visited his so-called antique museum at Kochi, for a ride.

"The state government had never claimed anything about the authenticity of the copper plate inscription on Sabarimala. A probe on this is presently on and so far none have expressed any doubts about the probe," said Vijayan.

Ever since Mavunkal was arrested in September by the Crime Branch Police, news reports surfaced about the authenticity of a copper plate inscription on Sabarimala in his possession.

Things took a turn when the Pandalam royal family, trustees of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, sought an investigation into the authenticity of it in his possession.

The president of the Pandalam palace managing committee P.G. Sasikumar Varma demanded a verification of the copper plate with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) after unverified claims relating to Lord Ayyappa surfaced, which they had earlier ignored.

He also pointed out that the document in possession of Mavunkal had a royal insignia, while those in possession of the palace do not carry any such emblems and legal action should be initiated if the inscription is found to be fake.

The copper inscription had assumed widespread attention during the 2018 Sabarimala protests after the apex court ruled that all women can pray at the famed temple (while the tradition is women aged between 10 and 50 were barred entry).

For several weeks then there was a standoff between the police and the pro-Sabarimala activists demanding that they will not allow anyone to break the tradition. At the height of the protests certain media outlets, including the CPI-M party organ stated that there was an authentic document on the rituals and customs of the ancient Sabarimala.

The inscription, claimed to be over three centuries old, which is reportedly stated that the temple had followed a Dravidian ritualistic tradition in the olden days and the present customs were not prevalent then.

Vijayan in the Assembly on Monday, however, remained silent when the Congress-led opposition repeatedly asked if any action would be taken against the CPI-M party organ for stating this as an authentic document.

Incidentally, Kerala State BJP president K.Surendran demanded a detailed probe into this.

In the Assembly while the opposition was trying to pin down the Vijayan government for the laxity committed by the top police brass, Vijayan, however, replied to this allegation by stating that he was not aware of the same.

The treasury benches raised questions about state Congress party president K. Sudhakaran meeting Mavunkal for treating some skin ailments. Vijayan categorically said that once the probe was completed strict action will be there.

--IANS
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