Kerala government in a note to the Supreme Court on Friday said that that 51 women between 10 and 50 years of age entered the Sabarimala Temple following the verdict of the top court.
“Over 16 lakh devotees have done the online registration for ‘darshan’ in the Sabarimala Temple and out of these 8.2 lakhs have visited the shrine. A total of 7564 women between the age of 10 and 50 have registered for darshan, and as per the digitally scanned records around 51 women in this group have already visited the shrine and had darshan, without any issue. This doesn’t include many others who have come as normal pilgrims and not availed the online facility. A total number of 44 lakh pilgrims visited the temple from November 16, 2018, till date,” a note of Kerala Police chief stated.
Hearing the plea of two women who entered the Ayappa shrine on January 2 amidst ensuing protest against the entry of women of menstruating age, the Supreme Court directed the Kerala Police to provide adequate security to two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “They (two women) should be given adequate security. Give them full security and you (Kerala) are fully responsible for their life.”
The apex court, however, rejected their prayer to tag their plea with review petitions.
Nearly four months after the top court’s verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Temple, the two women aged below 50 entered the Lord Ayyappa temple to offer prayers.
Kanakadurga was hospitalised after being thrashed by her mother-in-law on January 15 following her visit to the temple. The victim said she was hit around 10-12 times with a wooden stick by her mother-in-law as soon as she entered her residence.
A case has been registered by Perinthalmanna police based on Kanakadurga’s complaint under Sections 341 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against her mother-in-law.
The plea filed by both the women sought round-the-clock security to them due to the threat to their life for entering the temple.
They also sought directions to declare all authorities not to conduct the “rite of purification” or to shut the temple on account of any woman of the age of 10-50 having entered the temple, as this ritual is representative of a cleansing ceremony signifies they were impure, violative of their dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
After their entry, a purification process took place in the temple, while violent protests broke out across the state with agitators pelting stones and blocking the national highways.
On September 28 last year, the apex court lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years into the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala.