Sabarimala (Kerala) – As the Sabarimala Temple opened on 16th November evening for the 2-month annual festival amid tight security, the Kerala Police in defiance of the Supreme Court order, stopped women pilgrims at Pamba, 5 kilometers from the hill-top Temple of Deity Ayyappa, checked their documents for proof of age and allowed only those above 50 to proceed further. According to Police, 10 women pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh who were below 50 were turned back.
In September last year, the Supreme Court had held that the centuries-old ban on women and girls aged 10 to 50 was illegal and unconstitutional. On 14th November 2019, the Court referred the Sabarimala issue to a larger seven-member Bench, stating that detailed examination is required into the matter, without staying its 2018 verdict.
The LDF Government, which was proactive in implementing the 2018 Supreme Court order during the previous pilgrim season, had indicated on 15th November 2019 that it was not in favour of young women going to Sabarimala, despite the verdict on 14th November making it clear that there was no stay on allowing women to have darshan of Deity Ayyappa at the shrine.
Heavy security arrangements are in place at Sabarimala. Around 1,400 Police personnel have been deployed at the Sannidhanam (the area near the sanctum), led by a Superintendent-rank officer and 10 Deputy SPs. At Pamba and Nilackal, there are around 720 and 700 Police personnel respectively on duty, and this includes around 250 women Police officers.
Trupti Desai planned to visit the Sabarimala Temple
Trupti Desai said on 26th November morning, “We will visit Sabarimala Temple today on Constitution Day. Neither the State Government nor the Police can stop us from visiting the Temple. Whether we get security or not we will visit the Temple”.
While in Thiruvananthapuram, BJP District Secretary Ms. Anjana said, “All who have faith in Sabarimala should appreciate the decision of the Supreme Court. Some people are against our beliefs and customs. If Trupti Desai is adamant on visiting Sabarimala, she cannot imagine what will happen. We cannot predict the reaction of devotees. All of us will protest against her”. (Sensible people are aware of Trupti Desai’s antics; Trupti is deliberately targeting the beliefs and customs of Hindu Dharma in the name of gender equality. – Editor)
Another woman, Bindhu Ammini, reiterated that she will move the Supreme Court against the Kerala Government for not providing Police protection to women who wanted to climb the Sabarimala shrine. She had climbed the hill shrine on 2nd January 2019.