Sabarimala : Women Were Permitted Entry Through VIP Gate, Observers Tell HC [Read Report]
Commenting on the entry of two women aged below 50 years, Bindu and Kanaka Durga at Sabarimala temple during the wee hours of January 2, the Court-appointed team of observers has stated in their report filed in the High Court as follows :
"It is not known as to how the women who are escorted by five unidentified men were allowed to enter the upper "Thirumuttam" through the said gate through which ordinarily devotees are not allowed to enter, by the police personnel guarding the gate. It is also reported that these women entered the sanctum sanctorum through the temple door behind the "kodimaram" through which door ordinarily devotees and other persons are not allowed to enter."
Relying on the report of Sabarimala Special Commissioner, the observers said that two women were seen walking towards the staff gate, accompanied by five unidentified men. As per the Commissioners report, the women accompanied by five young men were seen entering the temple through the entrance of Balikalappura at about 3.53 AM on January 2. They had darshan at about 3.54AM.
"Thereafter two young men in the group are seen talking to the duly police constable at the entrance of the stairs and the group exited the entrance. Then one of the young men is seen pulling the arm of one of the ladies who is seen perplexed and the group is seen walking to the south", reported the Commissioner.
On January 8, the Division Bench of Justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anilkumar had enquired whether there was any "hidden agenda" behind the entry of women, and whether the women were "genuine devotees".
Responding to the queries, the Government yesterday filed an affidavit, denying any hidden agenda or involvement of external agencies behind women entry. The Government also stated that it was not practical to ascertain the genuineness of devotion of all devotees, in the absence of any prior negative intelligence input. Singling out women devotees to ascertain the genuineness of their devotion will amount to hostile discrimination on basis of gender, the affidavit went on to add.
It was on November 27 that the High Court appointed retired HC judges P R Raman and Siri Jagan, and Hemachandran IPS, DGP as observers. They were given "power of overall supervision and to take spot decision to give effect to directions issued by the Court and to ensure smooth and safe pilgrimage".
In a report filed on December 25, they had suggested that Police should not give special protection and escort on individual basis in Sabarimala as it causes hardship to other pilgrims.
However, this suggestion as opposed by the Kerala police by filing an affidavit stating that accepting it would result in violation of the Supreme Court judgment permitting entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala. The police affidavit also stated that the observers failed to mention in their report the violence unleashed by right wing elements in Sabarimala to prevent entry of women.