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The Kerala government’s affidavit filed in the Supreme Court listing the names and details of 51 women who its claims were between the ages of 10 and 50 and entered the Sabarimala temple has turned out to be a bare faced lie.

The affidavit triggered a controversy after it made public details of the Aadhaar and telephone numbers of the 51 women with at least one of the 51 turning out to be a man while several other women who were contacted by the media said were well over 50 years old. Displaying his ID card, Paranjyothi, a 47-year-old native of Tamil Nadu, whose name appeared in the affidavit, told television channels that he was wrongly mentioned in the affidavit. One Kalavathi Manohar from Goa was also listed in the affidavit but when the media contacted, her son said his mother was aged 52 and not 43 as stated in the affidavit. Another woman Padmavathy from Andhra Pradesh has been shown as 48 on the list, but when a TV channel contacted her, she said she was 55. For much of Friday, local TV channels also began running stories exposing the list as a fake.

The apex court is to hear 49 revision petitions challenging its September 29 verdict that allowed women of menstrual age to enter and pray at the temple. The hearing was originally scheduled for January 22 but has now been postponed as one of the judges is indisposed. The government had on Friday given a list of names along with their age and Aadhaar details was also submitted in the court.

The counsel for the state told the bench that till now 51 female devotees have entered Sabarimala temple during the ongoing annual pilgrimage season and all of them are being provided adequate security. “In this regard it is submitted that a total of 7,564 women between the age of 10 and 50 years had registered for darshan and as per the digitally scanned records around 51 women in this group have already visited the shrine and had darshan without any issue,” an affidavit of Kerala government given to the court stated.

It is for the first time that the state government has stated that 51 women in the previously barred age group have entered the temple.

“We don’t know on what basis the government had given this submission. No one knew about their entry. Even the media was not aware about the visit,” said Narayana Varma, a member of the erstwhile Pandalam royal family, trustees of the temple.

The Congress also trained its guns on the LDF government, saying the state administration had become “a laughing stock after submitting erroneous and misguiding affidavit. This submission of wrong affidavit has brought shame to the state. The chief minister was responsible for this,” KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran said.

The state had witnessed widespread violent protests for several days from January 2 after the LDF government confirmed that two women of menstrual age entered the shrine.

—India Legal Bureau

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