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25 Aug 2019, Edition - 1503, Sunday

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51 Women Below 50 Have Entered Sabarimala, Kerala Tells Supreme Court


Over 50 women of menstruating age have entered the Sabarimala temple, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court, which was hearing the petitions of two women in their 40s who had entered the celibate god’s shrine earlier this month.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, appearing for the Kerala government, said 51 women devotees under the age of 50 have entered the Sabarimala temple since the top court’s September order allowing girls/women between the ages of 10 and 50 into Lord Ayyappa’s shrine.

Over 7,500 women in the age group of 10 to 50 years had registered online to enter Sabarimala using their Aadhaar details. Of them, over 50 managed to enter the temple without any issues, he added.

A list of these 51 women was submitted in the court today in reply to petitions filed by Kanaka Durga, 42, and 44-year-old Bindu Ammini, who achieved the feat on January 2.

The women had walked into the shrine before dawn. The duo, dressed in all-black, rushed in and were escorted by the police.

Their entry, however, led to the closing of the temple for an hour and a half for “cleansing”. The purification ceremony was followed by threats to the women, and protests across Kerala by right-wing groups as well as some members of the BJP and the Congress.

Kanaka Durga was also attacked allegedly by her mother-in-law on Tuesday, prompting the two women to approach the Supreme Court seeking protection.

The court today directed the Kerala Police to provide round-the-clock security to these two women.

When the court was informed that the government was already providing adequate security to these women and others who have entered the Sabarimala temple, the three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there was no harm if the government continued to do so even after the court’s order.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the women petitioners, requested the court to allow clubbing of all the petitions on the Sabarimala temple issue. The bench, however, rejected the idea. There are around 48 petitions seeking a review of the judgment.

Ms Jaising also sought directions to authorities not to shut the temple for cleansing after the entry of any woman of reproductive age.

Since the top court ended the ban on women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple on September 28, upholding the constitutional right of every individual to practice their faith, the temple turned into a war zone with protesters trying every trick in the book to stop women.

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