While the Supreme Court has allowed women of all ages to continue visiting the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, the Kerala government today clarified that activists hoping to make a statement by taking up the pilgrimage will not be given police protection. "This is not a place for activism. This is not a place for activists like Trupti Desai to show their strength. We won't take them in. Let them go get a court order," said Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.
Mr Surendran reiterated the government's stand that it has sought legal advice to gain better insight into a recent Supreme Court verdict on the Sabarimala issue. "The earlier situation was different, when there was a strong Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter. That is not the situation now, given that the case is being heard by a larger bench," he said.
A top court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday referred review petitions on its earlier Sabarimala verdict to a seven-judge bench while widening the ambit of the debate to look into gender discrimination across religions. It, however, did not stay its 2018 majority decision that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.
In his statement today, the Kerala Minister also asked mediapersons to exercise restraint during the holy period. "Interviewing activists and whipping up a frenzy is not what the media must be engaging in... It is obvious that there will be attempts by certain sections to get some political mileage, but the media shouldn't be party to this," he said.
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