Sabarimala opens: Security tightened, no protection to women devotees by Kerala govt
Sabarimala Temple has opened for Mandala pooja festival. Devotees will be able to visit the temple from November 16 to December 27. Although women can enter the temple with a court order, Kerala government has clarified that it will not give protection to women devotees.
Pathanamthitta: Sabarimala Temple has opened for the Mandala Pooja festival and tight security arrangements have been made in the Pathanamthitta district, the location of the shrine.
Devotees will be able to visit the temple from November 16 to December 27. Pathanamthitta district collector PB Nooh said that all basic necessities such as toilets, water kiosks and medical emergency centres are in place.
"All basic arrangements are in place. We have deployed over 800 medical staff and established 16 medical emergency centres. Around 2,400 toilets and more than 250 water kiosks are ready. We have more than 1,000 sanitation workers deployed to ensure a clean atmosphere," he told reporters here.
Earlier in the day, Kerala Devaswom Board Minister K Surendran said the state government will not provide protection to any woman visiting the temple and those who need protection should get an order from the Supreme Court.
He also asserted that activists like Trupti Desai should not see the shrine as a place to show their strength. "The state government will not provide protection to any woman visiting Sabarimala temple. Activists like Trupti Desai should not see Sabarimala as a place to show their strength. If she needs police protection, she should get an order from the Supreme Court," he told reporters at a press conference here.
The minister's remarks came after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had on November 14 referred a clutch of petitions seeking review of its order which paved the way for the entry of women into Sabarimala temple in Kerala to a larger seven-judge bench by a majority 3:2 ruling.
The top court also observed that the right to worship by an individual cannot outweigh the rights of a religious group.
While Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra sent the review petitions to a larger bench, Justices Nariman and Chandrachud authored a dissenting judgment.
The review petitions challenged the authority of the apex court to intervene in the belief of the people. It argued that the temple deity is a "Brahmachari" (celibate) and "centuries-old beliefs" should not be disturbed by the entry of menstruating women worshippers.