Vayalar Ravi to move court on temple issue

NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (UNI)

Senior Congress leader Vayalar Ravi is going to court with a defamation suit against the authorities of the famous Guruvayoor Sri Krishna temple in Kerala for holding a purification rite (punyaham) in the temple after Mr Ravi`s son Ravikrishnan offered prayers there with his wife soon after their marriage.

The Thanthri, head priest, justified his decision saying that Mr Ravi`s son is not a Hindu as his mother Mercy Ravi is a Christian.

''It is surprising that my son was allowed to get married at the Kalyana Mandapam of the temple and he and his wife were allowed to offer thulabharam. After the marriage when they offered prayers at the temple the thanthri declared that the temple had become impureµ , Mr Ravi told UNI.

¶My son, Ravi Krishnan (Unni) is a Hindu and it is clearly shown in his school records. The Vayalar branch of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam has cleared his case as a Hindu. His marriage was solemnised according to the Ezhava rites and traditions,µ he said.

It was a largely attended marriage and even the chairman of the Guruvayoor Devaswom was present, he said. ''If they were in doubt they should have told me to produce the documents before the marriage,`` he said.

The punyaham was conducted after collecting Rs 1,500 as charges from Mr Ravi`s friend P T Mohana Krishnan.

Soon after this information came out, Mr Ravi wrote a letter to Guruvayoor Devaswom president Venugopala Kurup protesting against the untouchability in the temple and seeking appropriate action against thanthri Divakaran Namboodiripad.

The managing committee of the Devaswom met on September 16 and rejected Mr Ravi`s request saying that the thantri is the final authority on all religious, spiritual, ritual and ceremonial matters in the temple.

''It is very insulting and the only option open to me now is to go to the court,`` Mr Ravi said.

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