Woman, 52, allowed inside Sabarimala temple after initial protests

Sabarimala: A woman from Tamil Nadu was allowed inside the Sabarimala temple on Saturday after facing initial protests, as traditionalists presumed her to be below 50 years of age.

The Supreme Court on September 28 overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age (10-50 years) from entering the hill temple, where a celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped.

Latha, 52, accompanied by her husband and son, was stopped just as she was about to climb the hallowed 18 steps leading to the temple. The protesters presumed her to be below 50, despite her protestations to the contrary.

It was only after the intervention of state BJP leader K. Surendran and others that the devotees allowed Latha to enter the sanctum sanctorum after checking her identity card.

Meanwhile, a 38-year-old woman, Manju, presented herself before senior police officials and requested them to facilitate her pilgrimage to the temple in the light of the SC verdict.

The police officials cautioned her about the risks, as Hindu traditionalists had dug their heels in, opposing the entry of women in the 10-50 age group in defiance of the SC order.

However, Manju, who is the President of the Kerala Dalit Mahila Federation, would have none of it.

The authorities were yet to decide when they could help Manju visit the shrine.