Kochi: Discarding of clothes by lakhs of Ayyappa devotees in the river Pampa and throwing away other material has never been a practice and violators would face severe penal action, a top official said.
"We do not see any ebb of custom, any ritual,or otherwise in the pilgrimage of Sabarimala which requires or obliges or permits any person who is a pilgrim to discard used clothes and any other personal belongings of whatever nature into the Pampa river," Special Commissioner, Sabarimala, K Babu said.
The Commissioner, in a statement, referred to the October 16 order of the High Court, which had said that those who pollute Pampa river (also called Pamba) shall have to face penal consequences.
The HC had said that as per provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, those who pollute river and water bodies are punishable for a prison term of up to six years with fine.
Babu later told PTI that police personnel deployed at Pampa had been informed of the HC order and to ensure that that pilgrims comply with it.
He said such acts by pilgrims would generate sufficient basis to consider initiating prosecution, resulting in conviction for a minimum period of one and half years.
The Commissioner said those leading the devotees have to impress on them not to indulge in such practices.