Devotees' interests will be protected, says Kerala govt

Devotees' interests will be protected,  says Kerala govt

A day after the Supreme Court made an observation questioning the ban on entry of women at the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, the Kerala government said traditions and “interests of believers” will be protected in its response.

The government is set to file a fresh affidavit on the matter in the wake of the apex court’s observation.

“In Sabarimala, the ban on entry of women of a certain age group is based on certain traditions and custom. We can move forward only by respecting these traditions,” Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala  said on Tuesday.

Devaswom Minister V S Sivakumar said the state government’s response will consider beliefs which have formed the basis of the tradition.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the administrative body which maintains the hill shrine, said the board will continue to protect interests of the believers.

 “The state government and the board have the responsibility to convey to the court what crores of Ayyappa devotees feel on the issue ,” TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan said. A three-judge special bench of the Supreme Court had made the observation while hearing a petition seeking entry to the temple for all women.

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