Days after the visit of CJ Anila, Chief Engineer of National Health Mission, to Sabarimala shrine created a controversy, a 15-year-old girl, dressed up as boy, was stopped at Pampa while trying to enter the shrine.
According to the temple tradition, menstruating women between 10 and 50 years of age, are not allowed to enter the shrine.
The girl from Nallur in Andhra Pradesh was stopped at the guard room in Pampa by Devaswom Board staff, while she was attempting to enter the shrine, on Tuesday morning.
The staff had been given strict instructions to examine the pilgrims as a 13-year-old girl had tried to enter the shrine a few days earlier.
The girl arrived in a group which had 15 pilgrims in total. She was dressed up like a boy, had her head shaved and was wearing a hat, so as to escape scrutiny.
She also walked in the middle of the group flanked by pilgrims on either side.
â€śHer attire was like that of a boy and her head was shaved. The other members in the group were men. They tried to cover up the incident. They even gave a boyâ€™s name to the girl. The staff including the womenâ€™s special officer sensed something amiss and examined the girl again,â€ť PP Dileep Kumar, Administrative Officer, Pampa, told TNM.
He added, â€śShe was kept at the guard room with police protection while the other members of the group were allowed to enter the shrine. She was released after the team was back.â€ť
A source told TNM that it is common during the pilgrimage season for teenage girls to try and enter the shrine, dressed up like boys.
The pilgrim season began on November 16.
On Saturday, after CJ Anilaâ€™s visit to the shrine, she was accused of violating the temple tradition on account of being less than 50 years old.
However, Anila later wrote to the Chief Minister dismissing such allegations by right wing outfits and affirmed that she is 51 years old.