The Kerala Police on Monday granted four transwomen, who had alleged that the state’s force personnel had stopped them from proceeding to the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, permission to enter the shrine. On December 15, the four transwomen had claimed that the Kerala police personnel had verbally abused them in Erumeli, one of the entry points to the shrine.
The state has been tense because of protests against the Supreme Court’s order allowing women of all ages entry to the temple. Prior to the verdict, women between the ages of 10 and 50 were prohibited from entering the temple. The temple opened on November 16 for the third time since the Supreme Court on September 28 allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine. But so far, no woman between the ages of 10 and 50 has been able to enter the temple due to massive protests.
Transwomen Avantika Vishnu, Renjumol Mohan, Trupti Shetty and Ananya Kumari began their journey from Ernakulam by car early on December 15. They said they had requested Pathanamthitta district collector on December 12 to provide police protection to visit Sabarimala. They claimed that the temple priest and management had no objections to their entry.
Ananya Kumari said they plan on completing their pilgrimage dressed in saris. The transwomen had earlier claimed that the police had asked them to remove their sarees and dress up as men.
Director General of Police A Hemachandran, a member of the Kerala High Court-appointed supervisory panel, said the four may go to the shrine at an appropriate time. “There is no objection [to the transwomen visiting the shrine], only security concerns,” Hemachandran said.