10 women sent back from Pamba as Sabarimala Temple reopens


Pathanamthitta (Kerala): At least 10 women, aged between 10 to 50 years, were sent back from Pamba base camp which is nearly 6 km downhill from Sabarimala Temple on Saturday.

The police did not let the women — all residents of Andhra Pradesh — trek up to the temple.

The shrine in Kerala opened for the 41-day annual pilgrimage season, Mandala Puja festival, this evening.

Notably, the Kerala government has made it clear that it would not provide security to any woman of menstruating age visiting the shrine, as per Devaswom Board Minister K Surendran.

“The state government will not provide protection to any woman visiting the temple. Those who need protection should get an order from the Supreme Court,” Surendran said on Friday.

Women rights activist Trupti Desai, who has been a vehement critic of the restriction on the entry of women in the temple, had said that she will be visiting the shrine after November 20 regardless of whether or not she is provided security cover.

The opening of the shrine comes days after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had 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.

The Supreme Court had lifted a traditional ban on entry of women of menstrual age (10-50 years) on September 28 last year.

Despite the apex court’s ruling, a string of protests took place at the Sabarimala temple and its surrounding areas in the state, wherein several women attempted to visit the shrine but were stopped by Lord Ayyappa devotees. (ANI)