Monday, January 4, 2010

Non-veg food on ship irks Sabarimala pilgrims -

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    • Chennai
    • A group of 450 Sabarimala pilgrims from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, who landed here onboard MV Nankari on Sunday, accused the ship’s crew of serving them non-vegetarian food during their five-day travel despite assurances that they would be served vegetarian meals only.
    • Pilgrims from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands take the sea route and land in Chennai ahead of their travel to the Kerala shrine during the December-January annual puja season.

      “We found fish floating in the rasam and mutton pieces in the sambar,” the pilgrims said on embarking at the Chennai port.
      The ruling deity of Sabarimala, Lord Ayyappa, is said to be a bachelor god. Hence male devotees abstain from any contact with women during the pilgrimage.

      “We were also made to sit along with young women much against our wishes. When we complained, the crew members threatened us,” said the pilgrims.

      They said they were forced to survive on fruits and biscuits during the five-day journey as their pleas for vegetarian food because of religious abstinence went in vain. They also alleged that the catering contract of the ship was given to a non-Hindu man.

      The issue came to light when newly elected Tamil Nadu BJP president Pon Radhakrishnan visited the port to meet the angry devotees.

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