DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) militants and Popular Front of India (PFI) covert operatives attempted to disrupt the festival at Omallur Raktakanda Ayyapa Swami Temple under Travancore Devaswom Board. To counter the saffron flags and decorations used in the temple premises, DYFI activists demanded their flag poles should also be tied in the temple premises.
The Rakthakanda Swamy Temple, also known as the Omallur Temple, is located in the Pathanamthitta District and dates back to the eighth century. It is a pilgrimage site from Pandalam, Sree Ayyappan’s birth location, to Sabarimala. The temple is well-known for its ten-day annual festival in the Malayalam month of Medom. Temple festivals of Central Thiruvananthapuram end with the flag-off of the Omallur festival.
Devotees, including women, came against the PFI/DYFI activists and stopped them. The temple festival committee alleged that activists of the banned terrorist organization PFI, under the guise of DYFI, tried to disrupt the festival. These green communists attempted to create a riot by disrupting the temple festival.
Matters turned tense after several Hindu devotees took to the streets. They protested by chanting Saranam Ayyapa Namajapams (Nama Mantras).
Earlier, a written agreement was signed by the Devaswom Board and the temple management committee in the presence of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP)) that saffron flags would be used inside and outside the temple on festival days. Accordingly, it was agreed to tie the flag on the temple towers, and the temple compound wall and pond were decorated.
Local jihadis ensured that saffron flags and decorations would not be used in the surrounding areas. An old ritual exists where the temple procession reaches the Arattu Kadavu on the Achencovil River. It was agreed that saffron flagpoles would not be used on the road near the temple and at Arattu Kadavu, three kilometers away.
However, green communists wanted to jeopardize the temple festivities and came forward to create problems. They threatened that the white DYFI flag would be hoisted if saffron flags were erected on the temple tower. District Secretary B. Nizam led the unruly mob. Local Hindus and officials of the festival committee alleged that those who arrived were active members of the banned terrorist organization PFI.
They accused non-Hindus of trying to disrupt the festival. Local CPM leadership was forced to intervene after Hindu devotees took to the streets with Saran Japam. The Hindu devotees stood their ground and protested against attempts to disturb the temple festival. Their stand meant that the jihadis who had come to disrupt the festival had to return empty-handed.
Hundreds of Hindu devotees, including women, who came to participate in the temple festival took to the road in protest. Traffic on the Pathanamthitta-Kaipattur road was disrupted. They warned that if the DYFI flag is hoisted inside the temple premises, they will resort to similar protests as witnessed during the Sabarimala struggle.
A police team led by DySP S Nandakumar, Inspectors Jibu John (Pathanamthitta), and K S Vijayan (Malayalapuzha) stood guard. The DySP confirmed that a settlement was agreed upon in his presence, following which devotees hoisted saffron flags.
CPM Area Secretary P R Pradeep and local secretary Baiju Omallur came to the spot and asked the green communists to disperse. The area secretary informed the CPM district leadership that how the matter was handled was flawed. Pradeep and Baiju admitted that Hindu devotees united when the subject turned communal.
It is alleged that the CPM is desperately trying to intervene in the temple administration, and this caused recent troubles. After accusing the existing temple committee of financial irregularities, an ad-hoc committee was recently constituted consisting of CPM/DYFI activists. Allegedly, the district CPM leadership sent the jihadi mob to disrupt the Hindu temple festival.