In a bid to control the crowd at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, a company of Rapid Action Force (RAF) has been deployed. RAF will continue security duty at the temple up till the temple closes for devotees.

The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala has been opened for the annual two-month-long pilgrimage season from Monday and it opened for the pilgrims on Tuesday. 

A senior CRPF officer on anonymity told ANI, “A company of Rapid Action Force (RAF) has been deployed in Sabarimala temple in Kerala for crowd control at the request of the state government.”

Earlier, the state government had decided to limit the number of pilgrims to the hill-top shrine due to the heavy rains. “The ritualistic bathing in the river Pampa will not be allowed as its levels are dangerously high, spot-booking will be stopped for the time and changing dates of those who booked through the virtual queue system will also be considered to control the flow of pilgrims,” the government said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, State Health Minister Veena George had assured that all facilities have been made to ensure the safety and security of Sabarimala pilgrims. 

The government had decided to allow only 30,000 devotees per day this season to have darshan through a virtual queue system, considering the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Pilgrims have been directed to strictly adhere to COVID-19 protocol with authorities insisting that two doses of the Covid vaccination certificate or RT-PCR negative certificate taken within 72 hours is mandatory for visiting the hill shrine. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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