Sabarimala: Cops send back three Andhra women pilgrims

Sabarimala: With the Kerala police sending back three Andhra Pradesh women pilgrims from praying at the famed Sabarimala temple on Saturday, the recent Supreme Court decision not staying its September 28, 2018, order allowing women of all ages inside the temple failed to be a reality.
The Kerala police on Saturday did not allow three women, who were part of a group, to go to the Sabarimala temple after checking the identity cards of the women. Though the temple tradition disallows women in the age group of 10 to 50 years to enter the temple precinct, the Supreme Court on Thursday made it clear that it has not stayed the September 28, 2018 order allowing women to enter the temple. This time, the Kerala government has, however, made its position clear that it will not make any effort to see that women were taken to the temple to pray.
Last year, the police provided security to women pilgrims who faced stiff resistance from the activists of the right-wing activists who chased them away.
Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra told reporters on Saturday that everything was in place and that he would be meeting the Advocate General to understand the Supreme Court verdict.
“Today, we will be monitoring the entire arrangement… depending on the situation, things will be reviewed,” said Behra.
The two-month-long Sabarimala temple festival officially opens for pilgrims on Sunday at 5 a.m. However, it opened today at 5p.m. for religious rituals to be performed by temple priest and ‘tantris.’
The three women who were barred entry to the temple came from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. They were part of a group of pilgrims who were stopped for checking by the police at Pamba base camp.
The police after checking the Aadhar cards of these three women, were separated from the group as the police found them to be in the age group of 10-50 years. The police said later that its team briefed the three women about the temple tradition, and that they agreed to stay back. The rest of the pilgrims were allowed to proceed further.
Meanwhile, Kerala police has asked its men to announce in buses bound for the pilgrimage venue that the women in the banned age group will not be allowed beyond the Pamba base camp. (IANS)

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