The Kerala government has informed the Kerala High Court in an oral submission that it was ready to explore the possibility of keeping aside two days in the entire Mandalam season exclusively for allowing women devotees to conduct darshan in Sabarimala. State Attorney Sudhakara Prasad said this when Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Jayashankaran Nambiar were considering a writ petition filed by four women seeking police security to enter the temple.
The women in their petition had made the suggestion that the government, which was duty bound under the Constitution to facilitate their entry, should reserve three days for women's entry. The petitioners submitted that they were ardent devotees of Lord Ayyappa, who were desirous of visiting the temple during the mandalakalam season. They had made online booking for â€śdarshanâ€ť on November 19, LiveLaw reported.
Three of the women- Reshma Nishanth, Shanila Satheesh and VS Dhanya- had come to the Press Club in Cochin on November 19 to announce that they were willing to wait till the Kerala police and the devotees ensured their safe passage to Sabarimala temple, to offer prayers. However, while the press meet was underway, several protesters gathered outside the press club and started chanting Ayyappa hymns. The police had to intervene and take the three women to safety later. At the press meet, the women also spoke about the threats they had to face following their decision to visit the Sabarimala Temple.
The women informed the court that they had to abandon their plan following threats from BJP, Hindu Aikya Vedi, Sabarimala Karma Samiti and other organisations. The writ petition asked the court to ensure that all protesters were removed, so women could go safely into the temple.
The High Court asked the government for its opinion on the suggestion made by the women, which is when the State Attorney said that such a proposal could be considered. The HC then asked the state government and the Travancore Devaswom Board to file a reply within a week. In this reply, the government and TDB are supposed to inform the court of the measures taken to ensure safe pilgrimage for women.
It is however not clear if the government will submit a plan that allows two days to be reserved for women, though the State Attorney made an oral submission.
What the women had said on November 19
Reshma, a teacher from Kannur, had announced her decision to visit the temple on a Facebook post and has since been facing threats. She had said that she wore the mala following the Supreme Courtâ€™s verdict in September. "But since I announced to the world about my decision, my freedom to travel has been completely lost. I couldnâ€™t get out of my home for anything. If I step out of the house, the news would immediately spread that Reshma Nishanth is going to Sabarimala,â€ť she said.