14 November 2019
Thiruvananthapuram: With a fresh two-month-long Sabarimala season all set to open on Sunday, as many as 36 women have registered through the online booking facility of the temple.
Incidentally, this registration had taken place before the Supreme Court on Thursday referred the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala temple and other religious places to a larger seven-judge bench.
This development by the top court comes at a time when it ruled that there is no stay on the September 28, 2018 judgement which lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 in the temple, which means, women of all ages can visit the shrine till a larger bench decides this issue.
Last season, 740 women in the banned age group had registered and the police after collecting the details of those who registered then reached their homes and prevailed upon them to see that they do not embark on the pilgrimage, as it could lead to tumultuous situations.
Those in the know of things revealed that the police by now have collected the details of the 36 women by checking the records of theirs.
While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan refused to comment on the new directive of the apex court, State Minister of Devasoms (the body that looks after the affairs of all temples in Kerala) Kadakampally Surendran told the media that the state government's stand has always been to abide by the apex court's directives.
"The Congress led opposition should not try to make capital out of this new directive," said Surendran, but was silent when asked if the government would support taking women to the temple.
Last year on January 2, the state government directed the police to provide full security to two activists women in the banned age group to pray at the temple.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that in the last season, it was the Vijayan government, which flared up the situation when they decided to look for activists women to be sent to the Sabarimala temple for prayers.
"When they decided to go back on their stand, things cooled down at the temple town last year. The stand of our government on the Sabarimala issue stands vindicated with the verdict that came today," said Chandy.