The two-month annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season at Sabarimala came to a close with the Guruti ritual at Malikappuram on Saturday evening.
The Ayyappa temple witnessed heavy rush on Saturday as hundreds of devotees undertook the pilgrimage to the temple on the last day of the season.
Padipuja, Udayasthamanpuja, Ashtabhishekom and Pushpabhishekom were performed at the Sannidhanam on Saturday.
Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru assisted by Melsanthi V.N. Vasudevan Namboodiri, performed the Padipuja at the 18 steps (Pathinettampady) after the Pushpabhishekom in the evening.
The temple was closed with the Melsanthi singing the sacred lullaby Harivarasanam, Viswa-mohanam… after the Athazhapuja.
The Guruti ritual to propitiate the cohorts (Bhoothagana) of Ayyappa was performed at Malikappuram in the evening, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage season.
Royal representative of the Pandalam Palace P. Raghava Varma and Sabarimala Executive Officer D. Sudheeshkumar supervised the Guruti ritual reminiscing the ‘bali’ ritual of the yore.
The five-day customary Vilakkinezhunnellippu procession in the last lap of the Makaravilakku festival concluded with a procession to Saramkuthi on the trekking path from the Manimandapam at Malikappuram on Friday night.
The Melsanthi will open the Ayyappa shrine at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday to facilitate darshan exclusively for the royal representative. No one other than the royal designate will be permitted to enter the temple ‘sopanam’ on the occasion.
The temple will be closed by 6.45 a.m. and the royal representative will soon descend the 18 steps to escort the Thiruvabharanam back to the Pandalam Palace in a ceremonial procession.
The Thiruvabharanam procession will reach Pandalam on January 24 forenoon.
The Kerala police "abruptly withdrew" security provided to retired High Court judge Justice B Kemal Pasha on Saturday.
He alleged that they withdrew security at a time when he was facing threat from Islamic State's terror operatives in Kerala.
The retired judge said four armed police guards deputed for his personal security had withdrawn by the government.
When contacted, he said, "The decision had taken at the Home Secretary-level on Friday. The police personnel left me ending their service today (Saturday)."
The retired High Court judge Justice B Kemal Pasha, who had been vocal against the CPM-led LDF government's 'failure' in handling various cases, sources said here.
Alleging the security has withdrawn for raising voices against the policies of the government over various issues including the alleged killing of four Maoists in an encounter by police in Attappadi recently, the eminent jurist said he would continue to protest its 'wrong policies'.
The Kerala government on Wednesday approved the project under which nearly two million families below the poverty line will get free access to high-speed internet by December 2020.
Now, 20 lakh poor can access the internet for free in Kerala after the state cabinet made the internet connection a basic citizen right, similar to water, food, and education.
The path has now cleared to provide internet access to every household in the state. It comes in line with the directions by the United Nations (UN), which believes every country must provide free internet access to every citizen so as to exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
"Internet connection (has been) made a basic citizen right," Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tweeted. The project will ensure that there is internet service in every household of Kerala, Isaac added.
In March 2017, the budget of the most literate state in the country proposed a project aiming to provide internet free of cost to 20 lakh poor families and at subsidized rates to others.
A top Maoist leader from Tamil Nadu got killed in an encounter between Maoists and policemen that continued for the second day on Tuesday at the Attappadi forest, Kerala. The police said that three Maoists got killed earlier and the policemen have engaged in the inquest of their bodies when some other Maoists attacked the policemen, triggering a fresh gunfight.
According to the Kerala police, Maoists fired at the Thunderbolt patrolling team inside the forest areas of Attapadi Hills of Palakkad early Monday morning. In retaliation, the Thunderbolt forces fired back, killing three Maoists, including a woman.
The police had launched an operation to look for the missing fourth Maoist. But had to abandon it due to rain and darkness, a senior commando police officer told.
On Tuesday morning, when the Revenue Divisional Officer and local administration reached the encounter spot to identify the bodies, they have attacked again. The team had to take defensive positions and retaliate, killing one more Maoist.
The police identified two out of the four slain Maoists. One was Karthick from Tamil Nadu and the woman member was Jyoti from Karnataka. The identities of the other two deceased are yet to ascertain.
Police sources said the Maoists belonged to the Kabani Dal.