Sabarimala row: Kerala government gives SC a list of 51 women who entered shrine since ban was lifted

The Kerala government on Friday submitted a list to the Supreme Court containing the names of as many as 51 women between the ages of 10 and 50 who have allegedly entered the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, since the Supreme Court verdict lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstruating age into the shrine.

The claim came as the apex court was hearing a plea for round-the-clock security for Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, the two women who were believed to be the first to enter the shrine on 2 January. The two women, aged 39 and 42, respectively had been forced into hiding since that day in the aftermath of statewide protests over the fact that they had overturned a decades-long custom that barred the entry of young women into the shrine of Lord Ayappa.

Sabarimala row: Kerala government gives SC a list of 51 women who entered shrine since ban was lifted

Representational image. AP

On 15 January, Durga lodged a complaint at the Perinthalmanna police station, alleging that she has been thrashed by her mother-in-law. She has been undergoing treatment since then.

Their plea, voiced by advocate Indira Jaising, also asked the Supreme Court to issue directions to authorities not to conduct "purification" rituals on account of any young woman entering the temple, but the court refused to entertain the other contentions raised by them, Indian Express reported.

India Today reported the Kerala government as having said in court that 7,564 women between 10 and 50 years of age had registered to enter the shrine under the digital system.

Kerala government’s senior counsel in court Vijay Hansaria informed the apex court of the fact that 51 women had gone into the temple, and not just two, but the bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice L Nageswara Rao and SK Kaul did not entertain the issue further.

Live Law quoted CJI Gogoi as having said, "We are not concerned whether there were 51 or 500 have made your point."

One of the Kerala government's counsel, G Prakash, told The News Minute, "Almost 7,000 of the people who had entered Sabarimala in this season scanned their tickets after they returned from the Sannidhanam. Of these records, 51 turned out to be women under the age of 50."

The unusually large number quoted by the government has come as a surprise especially seeing that the two who did visibly enter the temple are now in danger.

Activists who are against the entry of women into the shrine questioned how the women could have entered the temple without the intervention of the Kerala High Court's overseeing committee, formed to ensure that the Supreme Court's verdict allowing women is followed. One such activist, Deepa Ishwar, told News 18, "The government should stop making a joke out of this. I would like to challenge the government to submit footage of the women."

A purported list containing the women's names, but ostensibly missing Bindu's, has been circulating on social media, but its authenticity could be verified.

On 3 January, a Sri Lankan woman had reportedly entered the temple.

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Updated Date: Jan 18, 2019 13:57:52 IST

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