Guruvayoor priests protest colleagues’ suspension over cigarette in prasadam

October 18th, 2008 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Guruvayoor (Kerala) Oct 18 (IANS) Junior priests in Kerala’s famed Sree Krishna Guruvayoor temple Saturday decided to delay the preparation of prasadam (holy offering) to protest the suspension of four of their colleagues following the discovery of a cigarette stub in the prasadam. Four junior priests (keezhu shantis) were suspended Friday after they were held responsible for the presence of the cigarette stub in the prasadam, which was found by a devotee from Bangalore Oct 11.

Everyday at 5 a.m devotees queue up to receive the prasadam, which is kept ready by keezhu shantis by 4.30 a.m. However, the distribution of the holy offering was delayed by about 90 minutes Saturday since the priests took an inordinate amount of time to prepare the prasadam to protest the suspension of their colleagues.

“Since the keezhu shantis were on a ‘go slow’ mode there was a delay of 90 minutes. They demanded that we certify all the raw material they use to make the prasadam and revoke the suspension of the four junior priests. We agreed to the former demand but not the latter,” temple official P.A. Ashok Kumar told IANS.

“There are about 178 keezhu shantis who are drawn from 13 nampoothiri (Brahmin) families and do the work of preparing the food in the temple. They are not employees but are here on the basis of hereditary rights. They are given a share of the collection made out of the sale of food items,” Kumar added.

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