Sabarimala pilgrims can carry coconuts in a cabin bag – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Bureau of Civil Aviation Safety (BCAS) on Monday night decided to allow Sabarimala-bound pilgrims to carry coconuts in cabin baggage on flights across India. The decision comes on the heels of several pilgrims being told by Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) security personnel that Irumudi must be placed in their check-in baggage.

BCAS Joint Director Jaideep Prasad told The New Indian Express: “We have received requests in this regard from our regional offices. Keeping religious sentiments in mind, we have decided to allow coconuts in carry-on baggage during Sabarimala season. Of course all airports will be required to deploy crew Additional security to facilitate the process of examining pilgrims. He added that coconuts were not allowed earlier, in line with international safety standards.

Meanwhile, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), conducting security checks, was asking pilgrims to put coconuts in their check-in baggage. “We’ve made it easy and help them do it smoothly and quickly,” said a senior CISF official.

A spotlight designer from Bengaluru tweeted to CISF a few days ago accusing them of offending a pilgrim by mocking Prasad’s pregnancy, calling it “insensitive and cruel”. While Irumudi was allowed to be carried as hand luggage earlier, the new rule banning it from inside the cabin was introduced last year, a security official said. “Since this is the first Hajj season after the outbreak of the pandemic, there is a huge rush to Kerala with many who missed out over the past two years keen to make it this year,” he said.

Irumudi is the only travel bag that a pilgrim carries on his head during Hajj. Without Irumudi, one is not allowed to step on the eighteen sacred steps in the Sannidhanam of the temple. In early 2018, separate trays were allocated by CISF at KIA for the Irumudi survey as pilgrims objected to being placed in trays where the shoes of other flyers were kept for examination.

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