The four people, identified as Ananya, Trupthi, Avanthika and Ranjumol, are reportedly from Kottayam and Ernakulam, and had maintained the required fast and done other rituals.

Why are you dressed like women Police threaten block transwomen at Sabarimala
news Sabarimala Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 09:15

Erumely police have sent back a group of four transgender persons who attempted to climb up to the Sabarimala temple to enter the shrine around 1.30 AM on Sunday. Mathrubhumi reports that the group was asked to leave Sabarimala and go to Kottayam under police protection.

The four people, identified as Ananya, Trupthi, Avanthika and Ranjumol, are reportedly from Kottayam and Ernakulam, and had maintained the required fast and were carrying the irumudikettu (bag of holy offerings Ayyappa devotees carry). Mathrubhumi reports that police took this decision to control the law and order situation at Sabarimala. 

In a Facebook live video posted around 6.30 AM from a moving vehicle on Sunday, Ananya says that previously, transgender persons have been allowed to enter the temple after some initial checking, but that people from Kerala usually don’t go. Ananya said that they decided to go this year, but were blocked by police upon arrival, and repeats multiple times through the video that there is no previous restriction on transwomen going to Sabarimala. 

In the video, Ananya says that police officers had been aware of their attempt to climb the hill, and that police were present during the ceremonies for filling their irumudikettu. They were also in communication with the police at Erumely and Nilakkal as they were approaching the hill, but on arrival, were made to wait for hours at Erumely police station, where police behaved in a very rude way to them and disallowed them from travelling further. 

“Almost all the police there, with the exception of a few of the women officers, behaved with us very badly. They even threatened to us into jail and said jail was where we really belonged. They asked us are you male or female, we said neither, we are transgender people. They said “what transgender people?” They also took aside the driver who brought us here and threatened him. They said you had better not ever be seen bringing such “things” to Sabarimala ever again,” Ananya said. 

In the Facebook video, Ananya also says, “I don’t want to talk about [entry of] women, that is a different issue, I am talking about entry of transgender people. Before, if a transgender person went to Sabarimala and they looked like a woman at that time, they would have to conduct some verification, and police assistance is required for that. That is why we went to the police. Otherwise they don’t ask us anything. The police asked us why did you have to come and ask for police protection, couldn’t you go by yourself?”

In the video, Ananya also describes how the police made remarks about their clothing. All four members of the group wore black sarees to make the trek. “The police said, you are men right? Why can’t you wear men’s clothing? If you wear a pant and shirt, we can take you to the temple. After some time, we said okay, we will change our clothes, because all we wanted was to conduct darshan at Sabarimala. Then they said no, we offered this some time back but you refused, we are not here to await your convenience.” 

A transgender person named Mohan, from Tamil Nadu Mohan, was also sent back from Sabarimala on December 14.

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