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Tryst with god costs Meera dear

Sunday, 2 July 2006 - 8:16pm IST

Malayalam actor, Meera Jasmine, had to shell out Rs 10,000 as penalty for worshipping at a temple near Kannur in north Kerala.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Piety proved too costly for actor Meera Jasmine, who had to shell out Rs 10,000 as penalty for worshipping at a temple near Kannur in north Kerala. Meera, a Christian by birth, had sparked off a controversy on Thursday when she visited the Rajarajeswara temple in Thaliparamba, where non-Hindus are barred.

"A representative of Meera has submitted the money needed for the purification rituals and got a receipt in her name on Saturday," said EK Babu Namboothiri, executive officer of TTK Devaswom, which manages the temple.

He refuted the actor's claim that she was given permission to enter the temple. The temple authorities held the remedial rituals the day after Meera worshipped at the temple.

Meera, a national award-winner, made the controversial visit after 8 pm. The visit was quick as all the arrangements were done by producer Govindan Kutty, who accompanied her. Temple authorities claimed they came to know of the famous visitor only after she came out of the temple. They were told Meera had converted, they said.

The Rajarajeswari temple also bars women on its premises until the evening prayers are done at 8 pm. J Jayalalithaa had visited the famed temple when she was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Offering a golden pot to the deity in the temple is considered auspicious. Meera had arranged to make the offering for her.

The incident follows the controversial statement by Kannada actor Jaimala that she touched the Ayyappa idol in Sabarimala, another zone out-of-bounds for women, in 1987.

While Sabarimala authorities are probing the claim, their counterparts in Thaliparamba decided to penalise the unwanted visitor.

Meera said she did not want to violate the rituals or fool the authorities.

She also claimed she had asked for permission to visit the temple. She, however, called up the Devaswom president and regretted the whole episode.

She had gone to Thaliparamaba after worshipping at another temple. She said she had not converted to Hinduism.

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