Kerala govt defends ban on entry of women at Sabrimala temple

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the Supreme Court questioned the ban on entry of women at the Sabrimala temple, Kerala home minister Ramesh Chennithala defended the ban saying that the tradition has been going on for centuries and the government is going to stand by the customs practiced since ages.

“Temples are run by practices and customs based on faith. So in this temple there are certain customs and practices since ages. All of a sudden we cannot change them. We have to respect the sentiments of pilgrims,” Chennithala said.

The Apex Court had asked the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabrimala Ayappa temple, to clarify why it prohibited women from entering the shrine.

The board said that it would place its stand on prohibiting women aged 10 to 50 from entering the temple before the apex court.

The court was hearing a petition by Indian Young Lawyer’s Association and others seeking entry of women in the temple without age discrimination.

The temple authorities said that the chief deity of the temple is a celibate and so allowing women to worship in the shrine is a sin.

Earlier, Kerala High Court had upheld the ban enforced Rule 3 (b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules, 1965.

News24 Bureau