Lost in Chaos: Ayyappan’s Cry Reveals Larger Failures in Sabarimala Management

Indian From South
3 min readDec 14, 2023

This video of the young Ayyappan crying out loud in Sabarimala, Kerala has been viral since yesterday. Many twitter handles tweeted this, saying that the boy was “arrested” by the police, while others thought that the boy was lost in the crowd. What exactly is the fact?

A close look at the video would make it clear that the boy was panicking since he couldn’t find his father on the bus with him. He’s frantically looking around and, in between, begs with folded hands to a policeman who is seen holding his hands in what appears to be an attempt to pacify the child. Towards the end of the video, the boy seems a bit relieved after he apparently finds his father. The boy can be seen saying “Appa” when he sees his father. Yes, the boy was perhaps lost briefly, but he found his father soon after. And no, the boy was not “arrested” by the police.

We are all responsible for what we write, and therefore we must recheck the facts before posting on social media. But these kinds of errors are common in this digital era. The downside of such errors is that legitimate issues get diluted. For instance, leftist handles are now trying to create a narrative that everything is hunky-dory in Sabarimala. Is that true? Let’s look at a few other facts.

  1. The situation in Sabarimala has been chaotic during the last few days. This is a fact.
  2. It is a fact that thousands of pilgrims are stranded at Nilakkal on the way to Sabarimala, unable to get a bus to take them to Pamba, where the trek to Sabarimala starts.
  3. It is a fact that the police force assigned for the pilgrimage season is highly insufficient. How did the authorities feel that 615 police personnel could manage a crowd of 80,000? “Navakerala Sadassu”, a PR event of the Kerala state government, has a deployment of around 2,250 police personnel.
  4. It is also a fact that the same government deployed over 15,000 personnel to enable leftist women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine during the Sabarimala agitation in 2018. This is a fact
  5. The Kerala state government has failed to build even basic facilities such as clean and hygienic washrooms in Sabarimala and on the route to Sabarimala. This is a fact.
  6. It is a fact that many pilgrims from nearby states decided to return without proceeding further to the hill, due to the chaos and the lack of facilities.
  7. It is a fact that it is not easy to find good food on the way to Sabarimala. A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that a roadside eatery owned by a man called Abdul Shehim, who also serves as the DYFI Erumeli Regional Secretary, had been utilizing tap water from a nearby toilet for cooking. That outlet has since been closed.
  8. The Travancore Devaswom Board, controlled by the state government, has utterly failed to manage the affairs. This is a fact.

While the Kerala state government goes on an overdrive to build facilities for Haj pilgrims, there is no such courtesy extended to Sabarimala pilgrims. And this is even though the revenue from temples goes to the government’s coffers.

Video Courtesy: Asianet News

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Indian From South

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