Sabarimala News: Police block 12-year-old girl from visiting Sabarimala temple | India News

PAMBA: Kerala police on Tuesday prevented a 12-year-old girl from visiting Lord Ayyappa’s temple in Sabarimala in a display of the LDF government’s resolve not to allow female devotees aged 10 to 50 despite Supreme Court last week sticking to its 2018 verdict that allowed women of all age groups to the hill shrine.
The girl from Puducherry, who was proceeding for darshan along with her father in a group, was stopped at 11 am by women constables at police control room in Pamba, the entry point to the hilly trek which is five km ahead of the shrine. Sources said in the online registration for darshan, called ‘virtual queue facility’, the girl’s age was mentioned as 10. However, her identity card showed she was 12 years old.
TV channels flashed images of the girl – who was looked after by constables at Pamba – weeping as her father and others proceeded for darshan. According to the channels, she told the cops that she wanted to have a darshan. The group members went up the hill with the girl’s ‘irumudikettu’ (offerings to the deity) while she was shifted to another room with the women police. She waited at Pamba till the others came back.

Officially, police refused to confirm or deny whether the 12-year-old was stopped. Officers said they were not blocking anyone citing their age, but pointed out that the traditions of the temple did not permit entry of women aged 10-50. They said many women restrain themselves from proceeding to the hill shrine on being told about the controversies.
SP Sabu Mathew, special officer in charge of police deployment at Pamba, said many women in the barred age group were reaching Pamba daily, mostly as part of pilgrim tour groups without knowing about the controversies.
“We explain to them, after confirming their age from ID cards, about the ongoing issues and ask them to co-operate with us. We are not blocking them but rather we tell them about the situation. The situation is peaceful here and devotees don’t have any issues with the trek up to the temple,” he said.

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