'Govt Bound To Protect Right Of Women To Pray At Sabarimala', Govt Tells High Court [Read Statement]

The Kerala Government has filed a statement denying the allegations that it was interfering with the day to day functions of Devaswom Board in relation to Sabarimala temple.

"The security of pilgrims is the concern of the Government and it was being scrupulously undertaken by the Government", stated the statement filed through State Attorney K V Sohan.

"Every year,crores of rupees is sanctioned to the Devaswom Board for undertaking project works at Sabarimala. So, the Government has got definite interest in the matter of safety and security of Sabarimala temple and  the pilgrims. Smooth pilgrimage at Sabarimala is the duty of the State Government. It is also the duty of the Government to see that amounts sanctioned and paid are properly utilized by the Devaswom Board and other agencies for the purposes of the developments in the temple and providing facilities for devotees", states the government.

The Government is responding to the writ petition  filed by T.R Ramesh, who is stated to be an ardent Ayyappa devotee and also the President of Indic Collective Trust, a trust formed to preserve Indian traditions. The petitioner had alleged that Government was interfering with Devaswom functions under the guise of security arrangements. It was also alleged that that the move to deploy about 5000 policemen in Sabarimala area was intended to interfere with the right to worship of devotees.

The Government stated that large deployment of police forces in and around Sabarimala was necessitated in view of the instructions issued by the Government of India on October 16, 2018 on the basis of information that various religious and caste based outfits were trying to create problems in the area. The Central Government had therefore instructed the State Government to take necessary measures to maintain law and order and to prevent dissemination of adverse information through social media. It is a fact that various political parties and outfits with their own agendas are attempting to create law and order issues to prevent entry of women of age group 10 and 50 to Sabarimala temple.

The allegation that Chief Minister had issued directions to the temple authorities is denied by the Government. The CM has only issued directions to the Police Department regarding security measures. The Government is bound to protect the fundamental right of women devotees of age group of 10 and 50 to pray at Sabarimala.

The Government has responded sharply to the statements made by the petitioner in the writ petition that large influx of young women in Sabarimala will affect the celibacy of male Ayyappa devotees.  The petitioner, T.R Ramesh, had stated in the petition that "it is possible that even a hardened man can be deviated into violating the Vritha by the presence of young women in large numbers" and pointed out that "even Maharshi Viswamitra had succumbed to the sensuous temptation of Menaka". Therefore, the petitioner  voiced the apprehension that  "large influx of young women will hinder the form of worship followed for several years together and therefore some restraint on young women is needed".

In response, the Government stated "the above said problem of petitioner and his advisors cannot be treated by the Devaswom Board. In fact, the number of policemen are required at Sabarimala is to provide security for devotees from the persons whose attitude is like that of the petitioner"

The Government affirmed that no genuine devotee will be prevented from visiting Sabarimala but anyone with the "problem quoted above will be taken care of by the police". It was further stated that the averments in the writ petition made it clear that the petitioner was not a genuine devotee but a person acting with the intention to create problems and obstacles for devotees.

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