Kerala Devaswom minister to meet Sabarimala priest

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Oct 6 (ANI): Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala's minister of Devaswom, is scheduled to meet the chief priest of the Sabarimala Temple on Saturday evening. The meeting comes amidst protests that broke out in the wake of the recent Supreme Court verdict, which removed the ban on women's entry of all age in the state's Sabarimala Temple. While the landmark judgement has been largely hailed, some followers of the temple's deity Lord Ayyappa, are against the lifting of the ban. On Friday, Kerala's Director General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behera had said that while it is important for women to visit the Sabarimala shrine, a large number of women personnel are needed to ensure the safety and security of female worshippers. "Safety and security of women visiting Sabarimala Temple is extremely important. 600 women police personnel are needed to ensure their safety," Behera had told media. Before the Supreme Court verdict, which came on September 28, women of menstruating age, aged between of 10 and 50 were barred from entering the temple by its officials, who argued that Lord Ayyappa had taken a vow of celibacy. But a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict said banning women's entry into the temple is gender discrimination and violates the rights of Hindu women. The ruling came after a petition argued that the practice violated gender equality. But, the Travancore Devaswon Board (TDB), which administers the shrine had said that they will move the court with a review petition. However, on October 3, A Padmakumar, the TDB president, said that they wouldn't challenge the apex court's decision. (ANI)
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