On Monday, activist Bindhu Ammini moved the Supreme Court, asking that the Kerala government be directed to implement the 2018 SC order that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.
Bindhu is one of the two women who entered the temple on January 2 this year even as protests, many times violent, were being staged at Pathanamthitta and other places of Kerala.
The petition has been moved through advocate Prasanth Padmanabhan and senior counsel Indira Jaising will represent Bindhu in the court. In her petition, Bindhu described how she accompanied Maharashtra based activist Trupti Desai on November 26 to the office of the Kochi Police Commissioner seeking protection to proceed to Sabarimala. At the office, Bindhu was attacked by a member of the Hindu Helpline who used a pepper spray on her.
Bindhu has accused the Kerala government of failing to protect women by giving its own interpretation to the recent judgment by the apex court in which it referred the case to a larger bench. Bindhu's contention is that though the apex court did not stay its September 2018 judgment and the Kerala government was behaving as if there was ambiguity over this.
Bindhu, in her petition has asked the court to direct the Kerala government 'to ensure safe passage of every woman to the Sabarimala temple, regardless of age or religion without hindrance from any source including the State and its agencies; and to respect, fulfil and protect the rights of all women regardless of age to enter the Sabarimala temple without hindrance in any manner whatsoever and in particular by preventing the unruly mobs or individuals from obstructing them from entering the temple'.
Citing the incident where police in Sabarimala stopped a 12-year-old child from entering the temple recently, Bindhu has asked for an 'immediate cessation of age verification and counselling done by the police officials at the behest of the State of Kerala discouraging women of menstruating age from visiting Sabarimala'. She has also asked the court to initiate appropriate proceedings against any State officials or private individuals who act in defiance of the court orders.
In January, the Kerala police had given protection to Bindhu and Kanaka Durga as the climbed the shrine on January 2. At that time, the state government, particularly Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had taken a firm stand that the SC verdict on September 28, 2018 allowing women of menstruating age to enter to the temple will be implemented at any cost.
The government, however, has now taken a stand that it won't give protection for women who want to go to the temple. This is after the apex court decided to refer the case to a larger bench.
Bindhu has repeatedly slammed the government for its change of stance in the issue. In particular, she has questioned the Kerala government for saying there is lack of clarity. "None of the judges in the bench have any lack of clarity over the judgement. Why does the government say there is lack of clarity?" she asks.