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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

12-year-old girl on way to Sabarimala stopped after Aadhaar card check

The shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala had opened for the annual 41-day pilgrimage on Saturday. Five women stopped from trekking up to the temple on the first day of the pilgrimage by the police.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2019 18:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A Rapid Action Force jawan stands guard as devotees stand in queues to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple during the two-month long Mandala-Makaravillakku pilgrimage season, in Sabarimala, Monday.
A Rapid Action Force jawan stands guard as devotees stand in queues to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple during the two-month long Mandala-Makaravillakku pilgrimage season, in Sabarimala, Monday.(PTI)
         

A 12-year-old girl was stopped by Kerala police while she was trekking to Sabarimala temple along with her family, news agency PTI reported.

She was shown as 10 years old during online booking but when police examined her Aadhaar card she was found to be 12 years old, PTI added. She wasn’t allowed to proceed from Pamba base camp, but her family proceeded to the hill shrine.

The shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala had opened for the annual 41-day pilgrimage on Saturday. Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed at Pamba and women police officers have been checking age proof documents of all female devotees.

Watch: 12-year-old girl sent back from Sabarimala trek after Aadhaar check

 

Five women stopped from trekking up to the temple on the first day of the pilgrimage by the police. The women were asked to go back from the Pamba base camp in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. The base camp is at the foothills of Sabarimala, about 5 km from the shrine.

Also Watch l ‘Urban naxals going to Sabarimala in guise of devotees’: Union Minister 

Activists had said the move to stop women is against the Supreme Court’s orders allowing the entry of women of menstruating age in the temple.

Last week, the top court had referred petitions challenging its 2018 judgment to a larger bench. The petitions had sought a review of the verdict that overturned a decades-old ban at Sabarimala on female devotees between 10 and 50 years of age. The new seven-judge bench will also look into seven other matters linked to faith.

The Left-led government in the state has refused to provide police protection to help women enter the temple.

“It is proper to maintain the status quo at the temple. The government is all for peace,” Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala’s temple affairs minister, had said.

There were protests in Kerala after the Supreme Court’s verdict in 2018. Traditionalists claim the entry of women of childbearing age into Sabarimala is sacrilege because Lord Ayyappa is celibate.

Though there have been over a dozen attempts, only two women had been able to pray inside the sanctum of the temple under police protection since the court order last September.