The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the state government of Kerala to bring a separate law in connection with the Lord Ayappa Shrine in Sabarimala. Kerala. Its should be noted that the latest order is only pertaining to the administration of the temple and not about the women’s entry into the shrine. The top court had asked state govt to make law exclusively for the administration of temple and welfare of the pilgrims. The Lord Ayyappa temple in Kerala's Sabarimala opened on Saturday for the two-month long pilgrim season.
The opening of the temple for Mandala Pooja festival came just after the Supreme Court deferred the verdict on the review petition challenging its order allowing entry of women of all ages in the temple. The Supreme Court did not stay its previous order which means women of all age groups will be allowed to enter the temple. However, no protection will be given to the women.
On Tuesday, a 12-year-old girl from Puducherry, who had come for darshan to Lord Ayyappa temple along with her father, was not allowed to proceed to the shrine from Pamba on Tuesday morning. The age of the girl, with “irrumudikettu” (offerings to Lord Ayyappa) had been shown as 10 in the virtual Q booking.
What is the Sabarimala issue?
The Tranvancore Devaswom Board has, since 1951, restricted the entry of women of menstrual age, i.e. between 10 years and 50 years, from entering the Sabarimala temple. On September 28, 2018 the Supreme Court opened the temple to women of all ages. However, massive protests were witnessed on 17 October 2018 when the temple was opened for the first time after the Supreme Court verdict. Protesters reportedly assaulted women activists, journalists, and other women who were trying to enter the temple.
Meanwhile, a review petition was filed against the September 2018 order. A five-judge bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, referred the issues to a larger bench, to consider the limits of the powers of the apex court in deciding conflicts between religion and other rights. However, court did not issue any stay on the entry of women.
According to sources, Kerala government has decided that the police will not be providing protection to women activists visiting the Sabarimala temple. Several ministers in the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet have said that law and order must be maintained and "women activists should be keep away from the Sabarimala temple".
In view of the protests that broke out in 2018, post the Supreme Court's order allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, the government and the police, this time, have decided to take necessary measures to contain anything that may hinder peaceful worship.