In picture: People throng the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple to witness the inauguration of the new flag mast.Facebook/Sabarimala Ayyappa temple official page

With Sabarimala issue in Kerala simmering in the back burner, a new controversy cropped up in the state after a derogatory poster of Lord Ayyappa was hung at a college in Thrissur.

The poster is of Lord Ayyappa positioned upside down between the legs of a menstruating woman. The poster was hung at Sree Kerala Varma College on Monday, on the first day of classes for freshers.

The poster was allegedly put up by Students Federation of India (SFI), which is the students' wing of the CPI-M.

Bharatiya Janata Party brought the matter to light on Monday and in a written complaint, asked for the poster to be brought down since it hurts religious sentiments. The state's Congress party took to the streets to protest against the poster and went to the Cochin Devaswom Board, which runs the college.

India Today reports that SFI denied any connection to the incident and said that the poster was put up with the sole purpose of bringing disrepute to the organisation. "Some people used the situation to spread fake news connecting the issue to SFI," Hassan Mubarak, the unit secretary of SFI SKVC, said in a statement.

"The government has nothing to do with this incident as it is fully an internal issue that took place in the college. The management has to take steps to resolve the issue. The government won't intervene," Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.

Haritha V Kumar, the Director of Collegiate Education, said that she has asked for a report regarding the matter.

She said, "We will take action based on the findings in the report. The Kerala Varma college is an aided college, so the management is primarily responsible for this act." 

The Sabarimala issue has been a point of contention in Kerala, which witnessed protests against the state government's move to let women enter the shrine foloowing a Supreme Court verdict.  Menstruating women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not allowed to enter the temple since it is believed that Lord Ayyappa is celibate and their presence in the temple could ruin the sanctity of the place.