Thousands of devotees, including women and children, on Monday, protested in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple.
Organised by the state unit of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), devotees raised slogans and held pictures of Lord Ayyappa, placards as part of their ‘Save Sabarimala’ campaign.
As the temple complex opens Wednesday for monthly rituals, protesters have warned they will not allow women inside the complex and if needed, they will lie down at the entry points.
All you need to know about the protest
- Protests erupted in the state after the apex court allowed entry of all women in the temple.
- These have been led by various parties like the Congress, the BJP and Hindu outfits
- Calling the Left-led government’s move to implement the order ‘hasty’, some groups have demanded that the Kerala government should come out with an ordinance to annul the court order.
- The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the hill-shrine, will meet the patrons, including the Tantri (head priest) family, Pandalam royals and Ayyappa Seva Sangam on Tuesday to discuss the preparations ahead of the three-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season starting November 17.
- The members of the Padalam royal family and the temple priests haven’t confirmed their presence. “Let them come and share their views. We will take a suitable decision on all aspects regarding the temple,” the board’s president A Padmakumar said.
- Heavy security has been deployed for the opening. So far, no special arrangements have been made for women devotees, he added.
- The Lord Ayyappa temple has traditionally barred all women of menstruating age. The temple’s rule followed the belief that menstruating women are ‘impure.’
- The custom in the temple was challenged by a clutch of petitioners who argued that women cannot be denied the constitutional right to worship.
- In a four-one majority verdict, the top court allowed women to enter the temple. But women devotees, activists who backed the ban on the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50, took to the streets to express their dissent.