The Kerala government on October 2 said that having separate queues for female devotees flocking to the Sabarimala Temple was “impractical”. In a recent judgment the Supreme Court has cleared the way for women to visit the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, but the state government seems to have stopped short of rolling out the red carpet for them.
A high level committee led by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s administration to discuss various arrangements to be made for women entering the temple came to this conclusion.
Following the meeting Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “Worshippers have to wait for eight-ten hours in long queues for darshan, and women devotees should also be prepared for the same. We cannot do anything. Only those who are prepared to wait for hours in long queues should come here.”
Surendran claimed that separate queues for women could result in women being separated from their families, which was not advisable.
Nevertheless the government is planning to set up enhanced facilities for women devotees, including separate washrooms and bathing areas to ensure that women devotees are not inconvenienced.
Given the expected rise in the number of devotee count, the government plans to stretch darshan timings and increase days of worship. Digital booking facilities are also likely to be introduced this year for more efficient crowd controlling.
Following the verdict which removes the age old ban on women between ages 10 and 50 entering the temple to worship Lord Ayyappa, several Hindu groups, the royal family of Pandalam and state BJP decided to launch public protests.