Kerala’s new Communist regime

Kerala’s new Communist regime cautious on women’s entry to Sabarimala

Thiruvananthapuram, May 31 (IANS) The new government in Kerala will take a considered view of the issue of entry of women into the famed Sabarimala temple and not rush into taking any decision, Minister for Temple Trusts K. Surendran said on Tuesday.

Surendran told reporters here that currently the issue is being looked into by the Supreme Court.

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“The issue is before the court and we are in no hurry to make any announcement. We will take into confidence all those concerned and then take a considered decision,” the minister said.

The Supreme Court ruled in February that no temple can bar the entry of women devotees except on the basis of religion.

The court had then asked the Kerala government to file its affidavit in response to a petition challenging the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple’s custom of prohibiting the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 years.

The previous state government had then defended the ban on entry of women in Sabarimala temple, telling the court that beliefs and customs of devotees cannot be changed through a judicial process and that “the opinion of the priests is final” in matters of religion.

The Congress-led UDF government had also withdrawn the “erroneous” stand of its predecessor, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, which had stated in an affidavit in November 2007 said “it is not fair to deny a section of women from entering Sabarimala temple”.

Now back in power, the LDF government is in no hurry to resume its earlier stand on the issue.

“It may be that the Left government (2006-11) had taken a stand about allowing the entry of women into Sabarimala temple, but today we are in 2016 and we now feel that no decision need be taken in a hurry on this,” said Surendran.

Situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at 914 metres above sea level, the Sabarimala temple is four kilometres uphill from Pamba river in Pathanamthitta district.

The temple bars the entry of women who have attained puberty.

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