Thiruvananthapuram: A ban on display of
religious motifs on state-operated special bus services to
pilgrim centres has sparked strong protests from organisations
alleging that this move was targeted against the Sabarimala
pilgrimage that begins next month.
What has angered the outfits, including Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP) is a specific direction in a circular saying
words like "Swami Saranam" and "Amme Narayana" should not be
displayed on buses to pilgrim centres.
The order, circulated to all Kerala State Road
Transport Corporation (KSRTC) units across the state, has
asked unit heads to stop the practice of displaying
"religious verses, emblems or flags" on the special services.
Kummanam Rajasekharan, state general secretary, VHP
alleged that the order was directed against the Sabarimala
pilgrimage which begins next month.
"It has been a long standing practice to display
pictures of Lord Ayyappa and also stickers on special services
operated to the shrine`s base camp Pampa. This helps millions
of pilgrims from other states to immediately spot buses bound
for Sabarimala", he said.
On the controversy, a top KSRTC official said that
the government was seized of the matter and a decision was
expected to be announced, factoring in sentiments expressed in