Fake antique dealer used to create trouble at Sabarimala: BJP

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

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala State BJP president K. Surendran on Monday said that only a detailed probe will reveal if the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government allegedly used now arrested antique dealer Monson Mavunkal to create trouble in the famed Sabarimala temple.

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

Incidentally things took a turn when the Pandalam royal family, trustees of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, sought an investigation into the authenticity of it in Mavunkal's possession.

The president of the Pandalam palace managing committee P.G. Sasikumar Varma, went public and 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, it 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 copper plate inscription is 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 was not prevalent then.

Surendran said that this was a ploy of the Vijayan government and alleged that Mavunkal was the tool for it, to create confusion and unrest in the minds of the believers.

"For the entire truth to come out, a high level probe into this has to take place, as there are doubts if this was a purposeful creation with the help of a section of the media. If appropriate action against this is not taken, the BJP will begin a protest, as this was done to create a divide in the minds of Sabarimala faithfuls. It's been a while since the antique dealer has been arrested and till now Vijayan is yet to speak a word on this and this is because a few of them who are in it are close to Vijayan," said Surendran.

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