Separate Queue for Women in Sabarimala Impractical: Kerala Govt
The devaswom minister said separate queues would result in the women being separated from their families.
The Kerala government on Monday, 1 October, declared that separate queues for women entering Sabarimala following the Supreme Court’s lifting of the ban on women’s entry into the temple would be ‘impractical’.
A high-level committee led by the chief minister to discuss various arrangements to be made for women entering the temple came to this conclusion.
“Worshipers have to wait 8-10 hours in long queues for darshan and women devotees also need to be prepared for the same. We cannot do anything. Those who are prepared to wait for hours in long queues only need to come,” Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters following the meeting.
The minister also said separate queues would result in the women being separated from their families as well.
The government is planning to bring in several facilities for women devotees including separate washrooms and bathing areas following the SC opening the temple gates to women of all age groups.
It also plans to restrain devotees from staying back in the sanctum sanctorum after the darshan, in order to reduce and control the crowd.
Talks with the temple administration will also be held to increase the darshan timings and days. For more efficient crowd controlling, digital booking facilities would be started this year based on the Tirupati temple model, Kadakampally Surendran further added.
Due to the increase in number of women devotees that can be expected, the government will also deploy more women police personnel and CCTV cameras would be paced at various entities to the temple complex, the minister added. The women police would also be deployed at the holy pathinettam paso (18 steps) if needed, he said.
Apart from the CM and Devaswom Minister, Chief Secretary Tom Jose, CM’s private secretary MV Jayarajan, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) member KP Sankardas and DGP Loknath Behera, attended the meeting on Sabarimala.
The temple is expected to see more women devotees with the Supreme Court removing the age old ban on women between ages 10 and 50 entering the temple to worship Lord Ayyappa. The court observed that the physiological and biological factors can’t be given legitimacy if they don’t pass the muster of conditionality, meaning women and men are equal.
Following the verdict, several Hindu groups and the royal family of Pandalam are set to protest against it on Tuesday.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)
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