Friday, 13 December, 2019


Thousands of police gather at Indian temple at centre of gender row

State counsel Jaydeep Gupta has advised the government to wait for the Supreme Court’s larger bench verdict before taking a call on allowing women from the restricted age group to have darshan 2,500 police deployed as temple at the center of gender dispute opens its doors
Bennie Garza | 17 November, 2019, 13:30

Controversial "activist" Trupti Desai on Thursday said that women should be allowed entry into the Sabarimala temple till a seven-judge Supreme Court bench delivers the verdict on the issue.

Supreme Court referred review petitions on Sabarimala to a larger bench on Thursday.

In view of this, Pune-based women's right activist, Trupti Desai, who previous year tried to defy the centuries-old ban on entry of women and was eventually sent back after protests from devotees, said she would be visiting the temple regardless of being denied police protection by the Kerala government.

Women's rights activist Trupti Desai has claimed that the Kerala government is working "completely against" women. She also said that women will visit the temple after November 20, and will not return without entering the temple.

Law Minister AK Balan said if anyone tries to hamper the darshan of the devotees, the government would take strong action.

Sources said the three women were briefed about the temple tradition, and that they agreed to stay back.

Thousands of police have been deployed in southern India as a centuries-old temple at the center of an ongoing gender row prepares to open its doors for the pilgrimage season. Women police constables have been deployed in the area.

"What I understand is that till the court order comes, entry is open for women and no one should protest against it. People who say that there is no discrimination at all are wrong because women of specific ages are not allowed there. Whether government gives protection or not we will be reaching on November 17 to offer prayers", she said. The Supreme Court decision to refer major components of its September 28, 2018 verdict granting unrestricted entry for women of child-bearing age to the temple for another review has offered the government the leeway to defer imposition of the earlier judgment. The latest decisions of the government and the political leadership have eased the pressure on the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the Sabarimala temple.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Sabarimala, with more than 10,000 police personnel posted in and around the temple.

Hearing a batch of petitions seeking review of its September 2018 judgement on the Sabarimala issue, the Supreme Court on Thursday said restrictions on women in religious places were not limited to Sabarimala alone and was prevalent in other religions as well as it referred all review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench.

Tight security arrangements are in places in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district, where the temple is situated.

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