New Delhi: The Kerala government on Monday revealed that only two women of menstrual age had entered the Lord Ayyappa shrine after the Supreme Court removed the ban on their entry. Earlier, the state government had said that 17 women entered into the temple.
In a written reply in the state assembly, the government said the visit of a Sri Lankan woman in early January was yet to be confirmed. PTI quoted Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran saying two women had offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine according to the report of the temple executive officer.
He also said they were awaiting confirmation on whether Sasikala, the 47-year-old Sri Lankan woman whose visit was earlier confirmed by sources in the Chief Minister’s Office and police, visited the hill shrine.
Notably, on January 8, the state government had filed an affidavit in the apex court, saying 51 young women had entered the temple during the recently concluded annual pilgrim season. However, the list had erupted controversy as some women were above 50 years of age. Names of at least two men had also crept into the list.
On January 2, two women had offered prayers at the shrine, breaking a centuries-old tradition.
On January 23, the Supreme Court has said that it will decide a fresh date for hearing review petitions challenging its judgment on the contentious Sabarimala issue that allowed the entry of women of menstruating age. The apex court said that it would decide a date after consulting Justice Indu Malhotra, who is on medical leave until January 30.
The review petitions are likely to be heard by a five-judge bench comprising the CJI and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra.
(With PTI inputs)