Minister of States for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Sunday said that people who are going to temple now, are ‘urban Naxals, anarchists, and atheists.’ His remarks come a day after police sent back 10 women from Pamba base when they were heading towards the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala to offer prayers.
“The people who are going to temple now, are urban Naxals, anarchists, and atheists. I don't think they're devotees. They want to prove that 'we have gone to Sabrimala Temple.' Whether they're really devotees, it should be examined,” Muraleedharan was quoted as saying by ANI. Muraleedharan also said that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government of Kerala is under pressure to maintain the traditions of Sabarimala.
"The Supreme Court is yet to take a final decision and the overall mood is that the tradition of Sabarimala should be maintained. The Kerala government is taking steps keeping that in mind and is acting under this pressure," ANI quoted him as saying. The temple has reopened just days after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court referred to a larger bench the matter related to entry of women into the hill temple and other issues related to various faiths.
The state and temple precincts had witnessed protests by right wing outfits and BJP workers last year after the LDF government had decided to implement the Supreme Court verdict of September 28, 2018 allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the shrine.
Though the apex court did not stay its earlier order allowing entry of women in the Lord Ayyappa temple, the LDF government in Kerala this time said the shrine is not a ground for activism and made it clear that it would not encourage women who want to visit the temple for publicity.
Police on Saturday evening said at least 10 women, who were part of a 30-member group from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, were sent back from Pamba, five km from the shrine, as they were found to be in the age group of 10-50 years. Females in this age group have traditionally been barred from praying at the temple
“We checked their identity cards and found that they were in the barred age group and informed them about the current situation in Sabarimala. They did not proceed further,” a police official said.
Early this year, two women in the barred age group—Bindhu and Kanakadurga—had trekked the holy hills and offered prayers at the shrine, scripting history on January 2.
However, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran has said those who want to visit the temple can procure a court order to enter the temple.
With Agency Inputs