Storm over Shiranthi’s temple visit over
By Akhel Mathew
Thiruvananthapuram: The storm brewing over the visit of Sri Lankan First Lady Shiranthi Rajapakse to the famous Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur appears to have blown over on Monday with the temple authorities clarifying that she was a practising Buddhist and an ardent devotee of Sri Satya Sai Baba.

Initially it was felt that the wife of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse was a Christian and the visit would be against the temple's time-honoured tradition and this would necessitate "redoing of all poojas from December 30, the day of her visit". By tradition non-Hindus are prohibited from entering the temple.
"There is no reason for any anxiety and suspicion about the visit of the Sri Lankan President and his wife at Guruvayur," Guruvayur Devaswom Administrator K. Anil Kumar said.

Anil Kumar said he had contacted Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Nirupama Rao and confirmed that Shiranthi was a Buddhist. "Since she is a Buddhist there is nothing controversial about her darshan in the temple and also it has not caused any harm to Hindu tradition," she added.

A Sri Lankan Sunday newspaper had reported that Shiranthi was a Christian and her entry to a Hindu temple was against Hindu tradition. Observing that non-Hindus were barred from the temple, it said the only exception was for Buddhists as Buddha was regarded as a Hindu deity.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Government was at pains to explain that there was no slip up on its part. "We have communicated every detail of the temple visit to the External Affairs Ministry. The Ministry had even sought clarification regarding the entry of Buddhists to the temple.

The Kerala Government had informed the Ministry clearly that non-Hindus were prohibited entry into the temple. This was why Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Romesh Jayasinghe and the President's Chief Security Officer Fernandes who are both Christians and Chief of Protocol P.M. Amza, who is a Muslim, were kept back at the Kochi airport during the visit," a government spokesman said.

Famed playback singer K.J. Jesudas was denied entry into the temple even to sing devotional songs because he was born a Christian. Similarly, when Congress leader Vayalar Ravi's only son was married at Guruvayur, a purification ritual was performed at the temple as Ravi's wife was a Christian.- Gulf News

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