Kerala

Change in stance over women entry?

Sabarimala temple.  

The government’s change in stance over women's entry to the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala has raised many eyebrows. The portal for virtual queue booking states that women and other genders (trans) below 50 and above 65 years will not be allowed darshan.

The restriction has come up when the portal commenced booking for additional pilgrims being allowed for darshan during the week days and weekends during the remaining pilgrimage season.

When the temple was opened for pilgrimage on November 16, the government had announced that children below 10 years and people above 65 years will not be permitted to the temple because of COVID-19 restrictions. But, the sudden change in the stance of the government just before local body polls has come in for flak.

The new condition comes two years after the LDF government had given police support for two young women to visit the temple in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict. The government’s decision had come in for opposition from devotees who wanted to stick to the age-old customs of the temple.

The LDF government had also opposed the review pleas filed against the September 28, 2018, verdict that allowed women entry to the temple. With the reported change in stance, the government and the TDB have gone back to preserving the age-old customs at Sabarimala.

Responding to the restrictions, TDB president N. Vasu said on Friday that the portal was maintained by the Kerala Police since 2010. “We have not given any instruction to this effect. Moreover, the entry of women below 50 years is a non-issue now. We want peaceful situation to prevail at Sabarimala. There are several other pressing issues before us to be addressed for pilgrims,” Mr. Vasu said.

“No one in this age group has evinced interest for darshan nor has come for the pilgrimage this season. Except for media reports, no organisation has raised it officially so far. It is still with the Supreme Court,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:34:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/change-in-stance-over-women-entry/article33252348.ece

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