KDF slams TDB criteria for selection of melsanthi

Says all Hindus should be considered for the post of head priest in Sabarimala and Malikappuram

The Kerala Dalit Federation (KDF) has slammed the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) for its criteria to select melsanthi (head priest) in Sabarimala temple.

“According to the notification issued by the TDB, only Brahmins can apply for the posts of melshanti in Sabarimala and Malikappuram. The government should reconsider this decision,” said KDF State president P. Ramabhadran in a statement here on Wednesday.

Mr. Ramabhadran said that all Hindus, irrespective of the caste, should be considered for the post. “Despite the Supreme Court order that caste should not be a criteria for recruitment in temples under the Devaswom boards, they are trying to reinforce the Brahmanical hegemony through this move,” he said.

In 2002, the apex court had ruled that “there is no justification in insisting that a Brahmin alone can perform the rites and rituals in the temple, and as part of the rights and freedom guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution any deviation would tantamount to violation of any such guarantee under the Constitution.

The landmark judgement came after the appointment of Rakesh K.S., first non-Brahmin priest at the Neerikodu Siva Temple in Ernakulam was challenged in the court. Mr. Ramabhadran said that while priests from all castes were recruited in other temples under Dewaswom boards, only Brahmins were taken for Sabarimala. “This is against the court verdict and also the renaissance values, so qualified Hindus from all castes should be considered for the post,” he said.

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