BJP Leader Favours Women’s Entry in Sabarimala Ayyapppa Shrine

Thiruvananthapuram: A top BJP leader in Kerala has come out in support of entry of women of all age groups into the famous Sabarimala shrine, saying the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is not a “misogynist” and menstruation cycle is a “law of the nature” and should be viewed as “sacred”.

In a Facebook post, BJP state general secretary K Surendran also endorsed the suggestion of keeping the shrine open throughout the year for ‘darshan’ to reduce the heavy rush during the annual pilgrimage season (November-January).

“Lord Ayyappa is a naishtika brahmachari (perennial celibate). That does not mean that he is a misogynist. We should not forget the fact that Lord Ayyappa gave young Goddess Malikappuram a seat just next to him (at Sabarimala),” the 46-year-old leader said.

“And, is not menstruation a law of the nature? Isn’t only because of that the human race exists? So, I think, we should consider it as something sacred,” he said, adding that the Hindu community had always shown readiness to accept everything logical.

His statement comes amid a heated debate among political parties and religious outfits over the entry of women in the age between 10 and 10 years into the shrine.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s recent suggestion to keep the shrine open throughout the year was openly opposed by the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the shrine and the tantri (head priest).