In the wake of news reports that ‘halal jaggery’ was being used to prepare ‘Aravana’ and ‘appam’ for distribution at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, a plea was moved in Kerala High Court on Wednesday for stopping its use forthwith.
The high court sought a report on the issue from the Special Commissioner, Sabarimala by Thursday. The petitioner, S J R Kumar, sought directions to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the Commissionerate of Food Safety, Kerala, ”to stop forthwith the distribution of ‘Aravana’ and ‘appam’ made of impure halal jaggery and not to use it any further for the preparation of Nivedyam/prasad at Sabarimala Temple”.
‘Aravana’, a payasam made out of jaggery and rice, and ‘appam’ — a sweet rice and jaggery based fritter — are prasadam given to devotees at the Ayyappa temple.
The issue assumes importance as the two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala has commenced and devotees in the thousands would be arriving there during this period.
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During the hearing of the plea, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the Commissionerate of Food Safety, Kerala, told a bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and P G Ajithkumar that the quality of the jaggery used for making ‘Unniyappam’ and ‘Aravana’ was being tested in the laboratory at Pampa.
They also told the court that the quality of the two sweet dishes were being tested in the laboratory at Sannidhanam, before distributing the same to the devotees. They said that a statement on behalf of the Secretary of TDB and instructions from the Commissionerate of Food Safety, Kerala would be placed before the court on Thursday.
In view of the submissions, the court listed the matter for hearing on November 18.