Fingerprint drive to weed out fake sadhus in Tiruvannamalai
Police have launched a drive to obtain their fingerprints and verify the same with the State crime database in effort to prevent those with criminal background taking advantage of the rush during girivalam days and the festival season
TIRUVANNAMALAI: In an effort to tackle the menace of fake sadhus, local police are on a drive to obtain the fingerprints of ascetics coming for Tiruvannamalai girivalam.
“The girivalam days are being used by some unscrupulous elements who in the guise of sadhus exploit devotees,” an official said.
To control this menace, police have launched a drive to obtain fingerprints of sadhus and verify the same with the State crime database in effort to prevent those with criminal background taking advantage of the rush during girivalam days and the festival season.
Sadhus found at various points of the girivalam path are brought to the Tiruvannamalai West police station, where their fingerprints are obtained, sources said.
As Thursday was a Pournami (Full Moon) day, a huge crowd descended on the town to undertake girivalam around the Annamalai Hills and the Arunachaleswarar temple. The footfall was on the higher side as it was a holiday. Thousands of devotees started the 14-km walk around the Annamalai hills from 6.47 am onwards. As the auspicious time ended only at 4.30 pm on Friday, many of them went to the temple to have a darshan.
“It is the practice of some fake sadhus to stand in the midst of the bustling girivalam path without leaving space for the devotees to move ahead, forcing them into giving alms,” Kumaresan, a local resident, said.
Though police presence would be relatively high on such special days, regular patrol should be ordered to identify the number of sadhus at each lingam, a revenue official said.
“If sadhus notice that they are being watched by the police, their menace could be curtailed and devotees can undertake the yatra without any nuisance,” Kumaresan added. Some prominent ashrams do not allow such sadhus near their premises for obvious reasons, a source said.Meanwhile, despite the HR&CE minister banning paid darshans on Pournami days, Rs 50 was collected from devotees on Thursday morning and was stopped in the afternoon only after complaints from the public. This forced devotees to wait 3 to 4 hours for darshan at the temple.