The Kerala government on Monday, 5 February, claimed that it had proof to show that only two women of menstruating age entered the Sabarimala Temple, retracting from its earlier claim of 51 women entering the shrine.
The government’s new stand was delivered through its temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran at an Assembly meet, who said the temple executive officer had submitted a report which claimed that only two women of menstrual age had actually entered the shrine since the historic Supreme Court judgment lifting the ban on women of menstruating age from visiting the temple, Hindustan Times reported.
However, when the opposition leaders reportedly asked him about the state government’s earlier list of 51 women entering the shrine, the Minister was silent, the report added.
The report submitted by the executive officer in question- had listed only two names -of Bindu Ammini and Kanakagurga- who had trekked to the temple in the early hours of 2 January.
However, the government had claimed that a week after this, a Sri Lankan pilgrim named Sasikala, 48, had also made it to the shrine. However, as it turns out, her name was not mentioned in the list, the report added.
The state government had submitted this initial list of 51 names of women to the Supreme Court on 18 January.
However, controversy soon stirred when several of the women, who’s names were mentioned in the list, claimed that their age had been fudged. Several male pilgrims, who’s names were similar to that of women, had also been featured in the list.
It was also found that several of the women visiting the shrine were not even from Kerala, but from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Following this, the state government was forced to remove about 34 names from the list. It also asked the state police chief to inquire into how the mix-up concerning the list, happened in the first place, the report added.
Opposition parties were quick to criticise the Pinarayi Vijayan-Government for submitting a “fake statement” to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an apex body comprising several Hindu outfits, has asked the Chief Minister to apologise for the blunder.
"“The CM had said several times that more than 100 women entered the temple. He was heaping insult on believers. The government will have to pay a heavy price for hurting their sentiments.”" - Sabarimala Karma Samiti leader K P Sasikala, as reported by Hindustan Times
The state government’s clarification comes two days before the Supreme Court is set to take up review petitions challenging its 28 September order, lifting the ban of women of menstrual age from entering the shrine.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)
. Read more on India by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand Deaths‘Will Initiate Appeal’: Mallya Responds to Extradition Approval . Read more on India by The Quint.