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After SC observations, Sabarimala temple board says ban on women part of 'custom'

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after Supreme Court questioned the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age group at Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Travancore Devaswom Board on Tuesday said the restriction was part of the custom and tradition of the shrine and it should be continued.

TDB, that manages the temple, would place its stand before the apex court for the continuation of the ban on the entry of women in the age group of 10 and 50 at the temple, Board President Prayar Gopalakrishnan said.

While hearing a PIL filed by the Young Lawyers Association, seeking entry for all women and girls in the Sabarimala temple, the court had observed that the practice was not supported by the constitutional scheme.

 After SC observations, Sabarimala temple board says ban on women part of custom

The Sabarimala temple. File photo. Reuters

Gopalakrishnan said the apex court had made the observation based on an affidavit filed during the previous rule of CPI(M)-led LDF in 2006.

He said the observation was without understanding the specialty of the rituals of the temple and the deity Lord Ayyappa, who is considered to be a "perennial celibate" (naishtika brahmachari).

As per the belief, certain customs and traditions have to be followed while visiting the hillock shrine, he said, adding, "the TDB and state government give more importance to preserve those customs and traditions".

The Board also would seek to be impleaded in the case to present its stand before the court, he said.

Meanwhile, VHP state president S J R Kumar said that the issue involved not only religious and ritualistic aspects, but also of the safety of women at the hillock shrine, where lakhs of people converge in a short span of three-months (November-January) of annual pilgrim season.

He said the VHP wanted the tradition of restriction on the entry of women to be continued at the shrine.

The VHP is mulling on whether to seek to be impleaded in the case, Kumar added.


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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2016 15:02:26 IST