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Security at all points leading to the Sabarimala temple have been intensified amidst reports that more women were planning to enter the temple premises whose doors were thrown open to the women between the ages of 10 and 20 as per a Supreme Court order on September 28.

Since the annual pilgrimage season on October 17, the temple and its surroundings as well other parts of Kerala have been on tenterhooks as pro and anti women’s entry groups battled it out on the streets. The police had been out on high alert after reports on Thursday said that gender equality activist Trupti Desai was on her way to Sabarimala. That however turned out to be a false alarm as it turned out that she was at home in Maharashtra where as a precautionary measure, she was put under house arrest. Yesterday there were massive protests as two women, one of a them a Muslim b-grade film actress managed within a kilometer of the temple where they were forcible asked to go back by devotees. Police then escorted them back.

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the temple, has decided to file a statement at the court explaining its stand and the ground situation after the verdict. The decision was taken at a TDB meeting that was held on Friday evening and it was decided that the Board would tell the Supreme Court about the issues it faced while implementing the verdict.

There are already 25 review petitions pending before the apex court. The TDB had initially planned to file a review petition after the verdict but gave up on the plan after the state government supported the verdict and decided not to challenge it. The decision taken on Friday, to file a detailed statement at the apex court, indicates that the government is trying to find a solution to what is developing into a serious law and order problem in the state, reports said.

The third day since the opening of the Sabarimala temple this year saw three women trying to climb up to the hill only to be asked to return. As of Friday, no woman has entered the Sabarimala temple despite the Supreme Court ruling that women of all ages can go up to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Many devotees who are against the entry of women into the temple have been staging protests along the route up to the temple.

—India Legal Bureau

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