Sabarimala Temple Row: Kerala Government Considering Using Helicopters to Fly Women Devotees to Holy Shrine
Sabarimala Temple (Photo Credits: ANI)

Thiruvananthapuram, November 10: The Kerala government is mulling over using helicopters to fly women devotees to Sabarimala Temple from Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi. The move will save women devotees from people protesting against the Supreme Court’s verdict of allowing the entry for women of all ages into the holy shrine. According to media reports, around 550 between the age group 10 and 50 have expressed their wish to visit the temple during the 41-day Mandalam-Makaravilakku period starting from November 17.

Meanwhile, around 3.5 lakh people have applied for visiting the Lord Ayyappa’s temple on the portal, www.sabarimalaq.com, on Friday. Each ticket will be valid for 48 hours. On Thursday, The BJP in Kerala on Thursday embarked on a Rath yatra from Kasaragod to "protect" the traditions and rituals of the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala. The main Opposition Congress is also launching a series of yatras from Kasaragod, Alapuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Thodupuzha and Palakkad to protect the faith, fight communalism and explain to the people the "politicisation" of the Sabarimala issue by the CPI(M) and saffron parties.

However, the Kerala High Court on November 8, rejected the petition filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association and few others challenging the implementation of Supreme Court's verdict on women's entry at the Sabarimala temple. The plea said there was "no positive obligation" on the state government to enforce the SC order "which was declarationary".

The state has been witnessing a series of violent protests over the apex court’s verdict allowing the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the holy shrine. As per reports, as many as 3505 protestors have been arrested so far in connection with the violence, while around 529 cases were registered.