Police advise women against visiting Sabarimala

Devotees arrive at the Lord Ayyappa temple that opened for the two-month long pilgrimage season in Sabarimala on November 16, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Kerala police on Saturday advised at least two women under the age of 50 against trekking up to the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple from the Pampa base camp.

The police response to the arrival of the women pilgrims at Pampa was widely perceived as a clear indication of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s modified stance that the law enforcement authorities were under no legal compulsion to escort women to worship at the Ayyappa temple.

The women were part of a 15-member group of pilgrims from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.

Women police officers at Pampa had, as part of established security protocol, verified the identity proof submitted by the group. They found two women were under the age of 50. The police apprised them of the dispute over the matter.

The police later claimed that the women had “of their own volition” abandoned their plan to trek to the Sannidhanam, and there was no compulsion on the part of the force.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had on Thursday said it was not contingent on the government to escort women activists to the Ayyappa temple unless they arrived with a warrant for the State’s assistance from the Supreme Court.

The government had received the legal opinion that the State was under no juridical requirement to pro-actively ensure that women between the age of 10 and 50 worshipped at Sabarimala in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to form a seven-member constitutional Bench to look into the case further.

State Police Chief Loknath Behera told reporters that he would seek further legal clarification from Advocate General C.P. Sudhakar Prasad on the issue.

Meanwhile, the State police said they were tracking the travel plans of women activists, including that of Trupti Desai who on Saturday reiterated her decision to pray at Sabarimala on Sunday.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 2:06:25 PM |

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