Police intensify search to find TN native who performed illegal puja at Ponnambalamedu

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Narayanan Namboothiri

Pathanamthitta: Kerala Police have intensified their probe to arrest Narayanan Namboothiri, who is said to have trespassed into Ponnambalamedu in Sabarimala and performed puja.

A few days back, a video of a man performing Puja at Ponnambalamedu, a hillock in Periyar Tiger Reserve, surfaced on social media. Soon it became clear that the man performing the puja was Narayanan Namboothiri, a resident of Chennai, who served as an assistant to the Keezhshanthi of the Sabarimala Temple. Ponnambalamedu is a much-revered place for devotees and an integral part of rituals at Sabarimala temple.

According to the police, a seven-member team led by Narayanan reached Ponnambalamedu on May 8. There are reports that two temporary workers, Karupayya and Sabu Mathew, of the Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC) assisted them to reach the spot.

The team, comprising six Tamil Nadu natives, arrived in Vallakadavu on May 8. Narayanan, who is from Thrissur, has been residing in Chennai for several years. The team reached Ponnambalamedu by trekking 10 km.

It is reported that Narayanan Namboothiri paid Rs 3000 to Karupayya and Sabu Mathew to take him to Ponnambalamedu. The Kerala Forest Department and Pathanamthitta Moozhiyar Police have registered a case based on the complaint from Devaswom Board.

Meanwhile, a report submitted by the Devaswom board commissioner demands a probe to identify whether the puja was conducted in Ponnambalamedu or not. The report also recommended the board take action to protect the site by citing the importance of the location.

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