A leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kerala unit on Saturday called menstruation sacred and backed the entry of women of menstruating age into the temple, reports said. In a post on Facebook, K Surendran said menstruation is a “biological process from which mankind is born” and added that neither the state government, the Devaswom board nor political parties had the authority to decide the day-to-day functioning of the pilgrimage centre.

Surendran said statements by several stakeholders in the temple-entry issue had “sparked up” a public discussion on the eligibility of women to enter the shrine. The BJP leader also expressed support for Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s suggestion to keep the temple open on all days of the year to avoid mishaps. “The Hindu community has always accepted logical arguments,” he said.

Only females over the age of 50 and under the age of 10 are allowed inside the temple. The rule is aimed at keeping menstruating women away from the premises. In 2015, the head of the temple’s board had said that women can enter the temple only after a body scanner is created to determine their purity.

On April 11, the apex court had pulled up temple authorities regarding the rampant gender discrimination at Sabarimala, saying that such restrictions infringe on one’s constitutional rights. The issue of gender discrimination with relation to the entry of women into religious shrines has come under the spotlight recently, with women activists such as Trupti Desai calling on the boards of places of worship to allow women into their main sanctums. Earlier this week, the Bombay High Court lifted a ban on women’s entry into the inner portion of the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.