Four women have moved the Kerala High Court to seek police protection to be able to pray at the Sabarimala temple, Live Law reported on Tuesday. They accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress of instigating violence and forming organisations to prevent women’s entry to the shrine in defiance of a Supreme Court order. The petition arrayed the two parties, their Kerala unit chiefs and the temple’s chief priest as respondents.
The high court asked the state government to respond to the plea. It scheduled the next hearing for October 29, ANI reported.
The petition was filed by PS Jalajamol, PS Jayamol and advocates AK Maya Krishnan and S Rekha. They said they are younger than 50 years old and want to visit the shrine but several protestors have openly declared that they will not let women enter the shrine.
Women of menstruating age have traditionally not been allowed into the temple, but a Supreme Court order last month put an end to the restriction. The Kerala government decided to implement the verdict, but the Congress and the BJP opposed it. When the temple gates opened on October 17 for monthly rituals for the first time since the court’s order, large groups of protestors began blocking women devotees, activists and journalists from entering the shrine.
No woman in the menstruating age group was able to enter the temple in the five days of rituals, which ended on Monday. The Supreme Court has listed review petitions against its verdict for November 13.
In their petition before the Kerala High Court, the four women sought directions to stop the respondents from interfering with their right to pray at the temple, reported The Hindu. They also sought criminal action against the Congress, the BJP, their state chiefs and the chief priest for promoting enmity and disharmony between groups. The state government is duty-bound to file cases against them, they said.