The Travancore Devaswom Board on Friday said that it will move a petition in the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement an order on allowing women entry into the Sabarimala temple, PTI reported. The board’s decision came after activist Trupti Desai and her team were barred by protestors from leaving the Kochi airport. Desai had intended to enter the temple.
The temple opened on Friday evening for the third time after the Supreme Court in September allowed women of all ages to enter the temple. However, so far, no woman between the ages of 10 and 50 has been given entry into the temple due to massive protests.
The temple board said it would move its petition in the court either on Monday, PTI reported. Board President A Padmakumar also said it will inform the top court of problems it has faced in implementing the order, The Hindu reported. Its decision also came after the state government had decided at an all-party meeting that it was bound to implement the court order. The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party in the state have been among the outfits protesting the entry of women to the temple.
Security is high in and around the temple, however, besides protestors barring entry of women there have also been complaints that there are still no hygiene facilities for women at the temple. Besides this, Devaswom Minister, Kadakampally Surendran, has said that the government has done everything possible at Pamba and nearby areas after the floods in August that had ravaged the state and infrastructure.
Over 15,000 police officers – 920 of them women and 55 of superintendent and additional superintendent ranks – will be deployed at Sabarimala for security over the entire period of rituals. During the first phase from November 15 to November 30, 3,450 of them are on duty. A special bomb squad comprising 234 personnel is on duty, as are two companies of the Rapid Action Force. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force are also deployed.
Earlier this week, the top court agreed to hear a batch of 49 review petitions against its verdict, but the hearing will take place only on January 22, after the temple closes again. The court clarified that its September order will continue to be in force. The Kerala government has affirmed that it will continue to implement the top court’s order, enforcing which was marred by massive protests and some violence last month.