A petition has been filed in the High Court of Kerala by four women devotees seeking police protection for visiting Sabarimala temple.
The petitioners - Adv. Maya Krishnan, Adv.Rekha.S, Jalajamol P.S and Jeejamol P.S- state that they are Hindu women aged below 50 years, having faith in Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala. They intend to visit Sabarimala to offer prayers in furtherance of the Supreme Court decision in Indian Young Lawyers Association case, which invalidated the restriction on women between the age group of 10 and 50 years to enter the temple as unconstitutional. The petitioners state that despite the SC declaration, several persons and organizations have openly declared that they will not let women enter the temple.
The petition has arrayed Congress Party, BJP, Mullappally Ramachandran(KPCC President), P S Sreedharan Pillai(BJP State President), Ramesh Chennithala (Leader of Opposition), Pandalam Palace Nirvahaka Sanghom and Sabarimala Thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru as party respondents, and has stated that these respondents "are instigating some extremist Hindu groups under the name Sabarimala Karma Samithy and various other names, who have no recognized leaders, to the knowledge of these petitioners. In the TV Channels and Social Media they are creating threat to life against those who may attempt to enter in to the Sabarimala".
It is further stated that these respondents "are instigating violence in the name of an unfounded and ritual practice held to be unconstitutional by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.They are continuing their own illegal agitation and also instigating communal violence their public declarations leads to violence which promotes enmity between different groups of society instigating violence in the ground of caste, religion and gender. Their acts are prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony".
The petition narrates acts of violence which took place in Nilakkal and Pampa regions over the last five days when Sabarimala temple was opened for puja. It is also stated in the petition that women who attempted to enter temple as per the SC judgment were forced to back off by the agitating mob, who have taken law into their hands to unleash violence and terror in the area. "Women between the ages of 10 and 50 are braided as outcasts and are prevented from exercising their religious rights. With this purpose, they are organizing negative social movements, armed drills and similar other activities intending that the participants shall use or be trained to use criminal force or violence against woman of the age group of 10 to 50", submits the petition
The petition-filed through Advocate C V Manuvilsan-further states that the agitation has been engineered at the instance of Pandalam Palace and Sabarimala tanthri as "they fear that once Supreme Court judgment is allowed there is every chance that in future, the Court may interfere in the matter of hereditary rights being enjoyed by the Thandri Family and priesthood rights being enjoyed by the Brahminical caste without any constitutional or statutory basis".
The petition states that "by virtue of being a priest or Tandri, they are gaining undue advantage and collecting and removing large amount from the temple by way of remuneration and also illegal collection from devotees who are ignorant. It is understood by the Petitioners that the Pandalam Raja is enjoying special rights without any legal basis at Pandalam and Sannidhanam. On the way to Sannidhanam onwards, they collect large amount of money by misleading the devotees proclaiming themselves as rajas even though they have absolutely no right to collect any amount"
According to the petitioners, the protests are carried out to protect such privileges enjoyed by the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam and Thanthri. The petitioners allege that the Thanthri and the erstwhile royal family have "hidden agendas" behind the protests.
The petition therefore seeks police protection to the petitioners to exercise their right to visit and pray at Sabarimala temple. The petition further seeks to direct the State government to take necessary legal action against party respondents and prevent them from indulging in unconstitutional and illegal acts of preventing women of age of 10 to 50 from entering Sabarimala temple. It also seeks a direction to the Devaswom board to take necessary steps to prevent the Tandris, Priests, Pandalam Raja family members and Vavarswamy Shrine Authorities from separately collecting any money from pilgrims and declare that all donations collected by them from any other place in the name of Sabarimala Ayyapa Deity are liable to be accounted to Devaswom board.