TDB denies making proof of age must for women in Sabarimala

TDB denies making proof of age must for women in Sabarimala

Amid reports that the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) was making mandatory documents certifying proof of age for women visiting the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, Board president A Padmakumar clarified that no fresh direction in this connection has been issued.

The TDB president's response came in the wake of reports that quoted him as saying that the decision was part of a proposal for stricter controls, made following attempts by women aged between 10 and 50 years - barred from entry to the hill shrine - to breach existing restrictions. He said restrictions on entry for women in the specified age group were in place but there was no move to make proof of age a must for entry to the temple.

"I was asked during a media interaction whether or not furnishing documents to prove age would help during the routine checks. I replied that it would help and also make the process easier," Padmakumar told DH on Thursday.

Since a case regarding entry of women at the temple is pending before the Supreme Court, the board is not contemplating any additional strictures. In October 2017, the Supreme Court referred to a Constitution bench a case pertaining to women's fundamental right to pray at the shrine.

Row over customs revived
Minister for Devaswom Kadakampally Surendran has revived the debate over the history of restrictions on women at Sabarimala by stating that women of all ages, including those from erstwhile royal families, used to pray at the shrine.

T K A Nair, who was advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, has said his choroonu (a ceremony that marks the first feeding of rice to an infant) was held at the temple sometime around 1940, with him seated on his mother's lap.

Nair now heads an advisory committee that oversees implementation of developmental schemes in Sabarimala.

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