4 transgenders offer prayers at Sabarimala temple

Four transgenders draped in sarees, who were earlier denied permission to visit the Sabarimala temple, arrive to have their darshan of the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala, Tuesday morning, Dec 18, 2018. The temple town has witnessed several protests by various groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict which allowed women of all ages to enter the temple. (PTI Photo)

Four transgenders, who were earlier stopped from proceeding towards the Lord Ayyappa temple, Tuesday offered prayers at the hill shrine under a heavy police security cover.

Ananya, Trupti, Renjumol and Avanthika, clad in traditional black sarees and carrying the customary "Irrumudikettu"(sacred offerings to the deity), were escorted by police from Nilackal to Pamba and during the trek to the shrine.

They said they were extremely happy to have got the opportunity to offer prayers at the temple and that this was their life's mission which had been realised.

They had met DGP A Hemachandran, a member of the Kerala High Court-appointed supervisory panel, and Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham here Monday after which they were allowed to proceed.

The police had earlier turned them away, saying that they had to get some legal clarity on the issue.

The state had witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala temple since the Kerala government decided to implement a Supreme Court order, permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.

Over a dozen women have so far made unsuccessful attempts to trek the holy hills.

The high court had earlier this month appointed the three-member committee, vesting them with powers to oversee law and order and other problems faced by pilgrims during the ongoing annual season.

Meanwhile, the shrine witnessed a big crowd of pilgrims Tuesday. 

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