Tension prevailed for nearly three hours here, when police refused permission to take out a chariot procession citing lack of fitness certificate for an elephant to lead the cavalcade in connection with annual Aiyappa festival.
The Nilgiris district collector Innocent Divya marked the beginning of the procession by pulling the chariot in front of the temple around 8.30 AM.
However, police stopped the procession stating that the elephant, brought from Palakkad in Kerala, has no no mandatory fitness clearance from forest department and also the department of Animal Husbandry, to lead the procession.
Protesting against the police action, the Aiyappa devotees, numbering over 1,000, started raising slogans against them for hurting religious sentiments and refused to take out procession without the pachyderm, as was the custom.
A senior official from Animal Department rushed to the spot and issued clearance certificate, after which the procession was allowed, police said.
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