Kerala govt may not allow women in Sabarimala Temple

Representative image. (PTI photo)

The Kerala government is learnt to have decided not to allow women in Sabarimala Temple until a final decision on the review petitions is out.

A senior government official told DH the government was of the view that with the Supreme Court decision on Thursday to refer to a seven-member bench the review petitions against last year's order lifting ban on entry of women in the 10-50 age group made the last year's order weak. Hence, if any woman wants to visit the Sabarimala Temple, she may approach the court and get an order in their favour.

Also read — SC refers Sabarimala review pleas to 7-judge bench

Kerala Law Minister and senior CPM leader A K Balan told reporters that there was a confusion in Thursday's Supreme Court order on women entry owing to differences in opinions of the judges. Hence, the government would take subsequent steps only after getting a clarity. The government would not allow any attempts by vested interest groups to turn the ire of devotees against the government, he said.

Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran also said that police protection would not be given to any women to visit the hill shrine unless they produce any court order in their favour. Sabarimala would not be made a venue for showing activism. Those who announced that they would visit Sabarimala were only aiming at publicity, he said, adding that the government would not support it.

There were unconfirmed reports that the Kerala government got legal opinion from a senior Supreme Court lawyer stating that entry of women in 10-50 age group need not be allowed in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to refer the matter to a larger bench. The CPM state secretariat that met on Friday also reportedly took a stand that entry of women in 10-50 age group need not be allowed until the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the review petitions.

The two-month long annual pilgrimage of Sabarimala will begin tomorrow and end on January 20. A strong posse of police have been deployed in the area. Women activists, including Trupti Desai, have already announced that they would visit Sabarimala this time.

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