High Court moved against restrictions on traditional trekking path to Sabarimala

The Kerala High Court on Friday adjourned to December 19 the hearing on a writ petition seeking a directive to the State government and the Travancore Devaswom Board not to impose restrictions on the traditional trekking path through the tribal area from Erumely to Sabarimala Sannidhanam without consulting the Mala Araya tribal community.

When the petition came up for hearing, the government pleader submitted that certain restrictions were being imposed on the movement of pilgrims through the traditional trekking path mainly because the path through the Periyar Tiger Reserve had not been used for more than two years. The government pleader submitted that the Pathanamthitta District Police Chief and the Deputy Director, Periyar Tiger Reserve, West Division, would file a report in this regard before the court.

Essential part

The petition was filed by C.N. Madhusoodhanan, secretary, Sree Ayyappa Dharma Sangam, Mundakkayam, Idukki, and another member of the Mala Araya community. According to them, the arduous trekking through the traditional path from Erumely to Sannidhanam was an essential part of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. In fact, it had been the ancient route of pilgrimage since time immemorial. The diversion of pilgrims through other paths was destroying the sustainability of the tribal community in the area. Besides, the closure of the traditional path would only increase congestion in the non-traditional routes, causing considerable delays and hardship to devotees.

The petitioner also sought a directive to draw up a master plan for the protection and maintenance of the Erumely-Sannidhanam traditional pathway with giving due right of administration to the members of the Mala Araya community and other communities.

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