Q10: What was the Sabarimala petition about?

The PIL was filed in SC on July 28, 2006 by Indian Young Lawyers Association to challenge the 1991 decision of the Kerala high court. They wanted to ensure entry of female devotees b/w the age group of 10 to 50 years at Sabarimala.
The other parties in the case were –

a) Travancore Devasom Board – the administering body of the Sabarimala temple - against the entry of women of reproductive age in the temple

b) State of Kerala – filed an affidavit supporting the entry of menstruating women inside the temple
c) Pandalam Royal Family – family that built the Sabarimala temple - believe that Ayyappa’s celibacy should be respected

d) Chief Thantrhi – head priest of the Sabarimala temple - in support of the existing tradition
Ex-president, Indian Young Lawyers Association - Naushad Ahmed Khan
President - Karan Singh Chandiok (his father was appointed addl
Solicitor General by the UPA)

It is believed that Indira Jaisingh is their adviser whose NGO’s foreign funding was stopped by central government
Q11: What was Supreme Court’s decision?

Supreme Court, in its September 28, 2018 verdict, allowed women of all ages to enter the hill shrine of Sabarimala. In a 4-1 verdict, the apex court had struck down entry ban on women of menstruating age.
SC said that the centuries-old custom at the shrine was not an essential religious practice and “the attribute of devotion to divinity cannot be subjected to the rigidity and stereotypes of gender”.
SC failed to understand that,
- to paint the issue as something to do entirely with gender discrimination alone is misleading as the restriction was on the basis of age, not gender

- majority of women who are true devotees of Ayyappa voluntarily accept the restriction
- restriction is not general or widespread enough to treat this as unacceptable. There are around 140 Ayyappa temples in Kerala alone where women of all ages can visit and pray

- tradition at Sabarimala is linked to Naishteeka Brahmacharya of Bhagwaan Ayyappa
- in Hindu religion, the temple is considered as an abode of God and his wishes should be respected

- fundamental rights (article 26) including the right to retain diversity in matters of faith was neglected by the SC which is a travesty
Some questions -
1. Do these judges have appetite to understand the tradition?
2. Have they had any personal association to any of the similar pilgrimage centre?
3. Do they have any local link with Sabarimala?
4. Have they consulted Hindu religious leaders before the verdict?
Q12: Who are the women who want to enter Sabarimala?

Mostly non-Hindus – Muslim, Christian or atheist who had no faith in Hindu religion.

These women (activists) want to enter the temple to -
- insult Hindus & their beliefs
- hog the limelight
- gain cheap publicity
Some names who tried to enter at Sabarimala:

1. Rehana Fatima - well known for her controversial background. She carried a stained Sanitary napkin and intended to throw it in the sanctum sanctorum on Lord Ayyappa himself
2. Mary Sweety from Kazhakkoottam

3. Kavitha Jakkala, a Hyderabad-based news anchor

4. Libi CS atheist - a story published on her website Newsgil, which said that if Ayyappa’s lust was awakened because of women devotees entering the temple, they would prescribe medicine
5. Madhavi, from Andhra Pradesh

6. Suhasini Raj from Delhi. She along with her colleague, a foreign national, tried to enter the temple on the second day but were stopped midway by angry protesters who formed a human wall before her
Q13: What is the politics behind?

Pinarayi Vijayan (CPI) led Kerala state government’s stance from day one is against the age old tradition of Sabarimala.
In an affidavit submitted by them in the Supreme Court they have stated that women of all ages shall be allowed to enter in the Sabarimala.

It is nothing but a blatant disrespect of the sentiments of the vast majority of Hindus living in the state.
The Kerala legislature had on 20 June, 2018 passed an amendment to the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institution Act, 1950 where they have taken away the requirement that the devaswom commissioners profess Hinduism.
As a result of the amendment, now the Kerala state government can by law, nominate a non-Hindu to manage temples under the control of the TDB.
According to reports, more than
- 5000 devotees / protesters have been arrested
- 500 cases registered across Kerala

This is one of the most draconian steps taken by any state government for preventing genuine devotees from protesting.

So much for religious freedom?
The police have imposed charges on the devotees such as,
- duty obstruction
- attempt to murder
- inciting violence
- attacking women

Police ruthlessly raided homes at night and made the arrests. Section 144 has been imposed.

Ayyappa's devotees are treated like criminals!
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