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560 women register online for entry to Sabarimala temple

At least 560 women in the age-group of 10-50 years have enrolled to have a ‘darshan’ of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala temple when it opens for a three-month period from November 17.

The Kerala police had three days back launched the portal sabarimalaq.com to control pilgrims during the three-month season.

More than 3.5 lakh devotees have registered themselves on the site, of which 560 are women in the reproductive age.

The temple is thronged by lakhs of devotees who stand in winding queues for 6-8 hours. Though most of them come without online registration, at least 30% of the virtual queue are ensured a hassle-free pilgrimage.

According to the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), which runs the temple, at least 16 lakh pilgrims availed the virtual queue facility last year. Once an individual registers using any government-issued identity card and provides other details, the pilgrim will get a slip mentioning the timing of the trek from base camp Pamba and there is a separate queue for online pilgrims. The virtual queue is a free service.

Although the Supreme Court has allowed women of all ages to enter the temple,

No women has been able to enter the temple because of protests from devotees and opposition from the temple’s supreme priest, despite a Supreme Court order on September 28 allowing women of all ages to enter it.

At least 15 women had come forward when the temple opened twice since the order.

Meanwhile, the TDB has decided to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court favouring women of all ages to worship at the temple. Earlier the TDB had insisted to maintain status quo at the temple. At one point there were serious differences between the TDB and the state government. It has also decided to engage senior counsel Aryama Sundaram in place of Manu Abhishek Singhvi. “We are duty-bound to go by the verdict of the Supreme Court,” said TDB member Shankardas.

With eight days left for the annual pilgrimage season, all eyes are on the Supreme Court which is taking up on November 13 review petitions against its verdict but political outfits are in a race to exploit the emotional issue.

However, many including the police hope that the top court will give reasonable time for implementing the order.

First Published: Nov 09, 2018 19:43 IST

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