At least 51 women under the age of 50 entered the Sabarimala temple, ever since the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict, allowing women of all ages entry into the Sabarimala temple. This information was released by the Kerala government after they submitted these details at the Supreme Court. The information is based on digitised records of people who have entered Sabarimala in this season.
The Kerala government’s counsel submitted this list in court in reply to a petition filed by Bindu and Kanakadurga – who were said to be the first women to enter Sabarimala after the Supreme Court verdict – seeking police protection. All 51 women, according to the list, are in their forties – most in their late forties. Kerala government’s counsel in court, G Prakash, told TNM, “Over 7,000 women in the age group of 10 to 50 years had registered online to enter Sabarimala in this season; of them, 51 women have already entered the temple without any issues, and scanned their tickets after they returned from the Sannidhanam.”
In a complete breach of privacy, however, the list is being flashed by several media channels, including the phone numbers and Aadhaar numbers of these women. Former Travancore Devaswom Board President Prayar Gopalakrishnan however told the media that they will not believe this list given by the government and will ask Kerala government to produce more proof. Moreover, a few of the women who are named in the list have already come forward saying that they were above 50 years of age and their age could have been recorded wrongly while registering online. They have questioned the government's version.
According to the Kerala government's submission in the Supreme Court, over 16 lakh devotees have registered online to visit Sabarimala, through the Digital Queue Management System managed by the Kerala police. Of them, 8.2 lakh devotees have visited the temple. 7564 women in the age group of 10 to 50 years registered online, and 51 of them have visited so far. "This does not include many others who have come as normal pilgrims and not availed the online facility. A total number of 44 lakh pilgrims visited the temple from 16.11.2018 till date," the government submitted in court.
Interestingly, Bindu's name is not in the list released by the government, further suggesting that the number of women under the age of 50 who actually have entered the temple could be different.
Kanakadurga and Bindu moved Supreme Court seeking protection and action against protesters who are indulging in violence. This came days after Kanakadurga was attacked by her mother-in-law when she returned home after visiting Sabarimala. The SC on Friday allowed them 24x7 police protection.
After the government submitted this list, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is one of the judges hearing the petition, said it didn’t matter to the court whether 50 or 500 women entered the temple.