Religion

Devotees continue to throng Sabarimala temple to seek blessings of Lord Ayyappa

Can women still enter Sabarimala? What legal experts say

Scores of devotees on Monday continue to throng to the Sabarimala temple to offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa. The temple was opened on November 16 for the 41-day long annual Mandala-Makaravilakku puja festival.

On Saturday, at least 10 women, aged between 10 to 50 years, were sent back from Pamba base camp which is nearly 6 km downhill from the temple.
The police did not let the women — all residents of Andhra Pradesh — trek up to the temple.

Notably, the Kerala government has made it clear that it would not provide security to any woman of menstruating age visiting the shrine, as per Devaswom Board Minister K Surendran.

Women right activist Trupti Desai on Friday said that she will go to Sabarimala temple after November 20 regardless whether she would be provided protection by the Kerala government or not.

‘I will go to Sabarimala after November 20. We will seek protection from the Kerala government and it is up to them to give us protection or not. Even if not provided with protection, I will visit Sabarimala for the darshan,’ Desai had said.

The opening of the shrine comes days after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had referred a clutch of petitions seeking review of its order which paved the way for the entry of women into Sabarimala temple in Kerala to a larger seven-judge bench by a majority 3:2 ruling.

The top court also observed that the right to worship by an individual cannot outweigh the rights of a religious group.

The Supreme Court had lifted a traditional ban on entry of women of menstrual age (10-50 years) on September 28 last year.

Despite the apex court’s ruling, a string of protests took place at the Sabarimala temple and its surrounding areas in the state, when several women attempted to visit the shrine but were stopped by Lord Ayyappa devotees.

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