Shani Shingnapur or not, Sabarimala temple will remain a male bastion

Exclusive Devaswom Board to go all out in its fight to keep menstruating women out of SabarimalaSreekesh
news Friday, April 08, 2016 - 19:16

In the light of Shani Shingnapur temple allowing women into the temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to use the Bombay High Court ruling to buttress its own legal battle in the Supreme Court to keep menstruating women out of the Sabarimala temple.

In the wake of Pune’s Shani Shingnapur authorities’ decision, the Board went into a huddle with the Sabarimala temple authorities on Friday afternoon. During the informal meeting, the Board worked out a strategy to ensure that the temple’s rules continue.

Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan told The News Minute that the board would get experts to explain how the Sabarimala temple was different.

“We debated on the Bombay High Court’s ruling. The Shani temple and Sabarimala have distinct ideologies and traditions. But we understand that the tide is turning and so we will strengthen our stand in court. We have decided to add more details and nuances in our affidavit in court.”

The Supreme Court is hearing a PIL urging that the entry of women of even menstruating age be permitted as Sabarimala.

Gopalakrishnan said that it would file affidavits on behalf of the representative of the Tantri family of the temple, a member of the Travancore royal family and also from one of the Pandalam Raja’s  descendants. Ayyappan, the deity of the temple is considered to be the son of a Pandalam Raja.

Asked about the Bombay High Court’s remarks that it was unconstitutional for women to be denied entry into the temple, Gopalakrishnan said: “This is not about the Constitution, this is about religion. Whether it is about Hinduism, Islam or Christianity, as the president of the Travancore Devasom Board, I think the courts or the Constitution should not intervene in matters of religion.”

On the recent change in the UDF’s stance, he said: “Let them change, they will have to face the consequences. No government can go against the faith of devotees.”

Until the recent past, both the UDF and LDF governments had maintained that they were in support of allowing women of menstruating age into the temple. However, the UDF government recently changed its position on the subject.

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