Jaimala blames Sabarimala authorities for entry to temple

Jaimala blames Sabarimala authorities for entry to temple
Bangalore, June 30 (PTI) Unfazed by the storm over her entry into the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala temple where women are barred, Kannada actress Jaimala today blamed the shrine's administration for the matter and called for an end to the "unnecessary controversy" over it.

Blaming the temple authorities for "allowing her in the first place", she reiterated that "she had not touched Lord Ayyappa's feet knowingly but it happened as she was pushed and jostled, making her fall near the deity and accidentally touching it".

Noting that the "unnecessary controversy" had pained her a lot, she appealed to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the shrine, to put an end to it and allow her to live in peace.

The 47-year-old actress expressed confidence that justice would be meted out to her by Lord Ayyappa, to whom the temple is dedicated, as she had "not committed any mistake".

"Being a true devotee of the Lord, I am sure he will do justice to me as I have not committed any mistake," Jaimala told PTI.

She said she would celebrate her 5Oth birthday by visiting the shrine again.

Jaimala sparked a controversy by recently admitting that she had touched the idol of Lord Ayyappa during a visit to the temple in 1987.

She asked the board to strengthen security and enforce rules "uniformly without discriminating between VVIPs and the general public".

The authorities should clearly display rules on billboards in regional languages within the shrine so that "such controversies do not recur", she said.

Alleging that the shrine authorities had reneged on their promise of "immediately destroying her confidential confession sent by fax in her own handwriting" by leaking it to the press, Jaimala said, "It is not becoming of them at all as they are supposed to adhere to ethics and values.

"In fact, before sending the fax, I told them I wanted to make a confession to Lord Ayyappa which was very confidential, to which they said the Lord would bless me and the fax would be destroyed immediately," she said.

"They (shrine authorities), however, lost no time to leak it out to the press and are capitalising on it," Jaimala said.

Due to the controversy, Jaimala said, "people are calling me mentally ill, saying I did it for money, for publicity, which is very distressing as I am a true devotee of Lord Ayyappa and only wanted to do prayashcitta (repentance) for a mistake I had committed unwittingly".

She said when she visited the shrine 19 years ago at the age of 27 along with her ailing husband, Kannada actor "Tiger" Prabhakar, "not once did anybody dissuade me from entering the shrine by saying a woman below 50 years of age cannot enter it, which they are now saying".

Due to the condition of Prabhakar, who was limping and was "immediately recognised by the authorities as he had acted in many regional films", Jaimala said they were taken by an "entry route meant for VVIPs".

"If they are so strigent about rules why did they not stop me at the outset itself?" she asked.

On the "internal differences" that have sprung up following the controversy, Jaimala said, "It is of no concern to me and as for legal action against me, I leave (the matter) to Lord Ayyappa.

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