As protests against the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women into Sabarimala rage across the country, former Devaswom board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan has said that allowing women of all ages into the shrine will “turn it into Thailand”.
“I won’t tell any sister to not enter Sabarimala. Whoever wants to come is welcome. But if you come, you can get caught by a tiger or man,” Gopalakrishnan said, suggesting that women devotees cannot complain if they are harassed by men during the pilgrimage.
He added, “If young women are allowed to enter Sabarimala, I will not be ready to enter Thailand (alluding that Sabarimala will turn into Thailand if women are allowed). The aura or power of Lord Ayyappa will be diminished.”
Gopalakrishnan’s remarks come close on the heels of comments made by Malayalam actor Kollam Thulasi, who threatened to rip into half women entering the Sabarimala temple.
The Supreme Court, on September 28, gave a landmark judgment to lift the ban on entry of women into the shrine. Ever since the verdict, Kerala has witnessed massive protests across the state, with several devotees — including women — refusing to enter the temple. The Congress, BJP and various Hindu organisations have also taken to the streets, demanding that the state government file a review petition against the verdict.
The resistance to the Supreme Court verdict was also evident in the U-turn made by the Travancore Devaswom Board, which had earlier told the high court that there would be 100 new toilet facilities painted in pink along with changing rooms for women.
The board has now made it clear that no such amenities will be provided to the women devotees. This change in decision has come after a meeting of board members of the TDB. Most of the members of the board were reportedly not in favour of letting women of all age groups enter the shrine and therefore have considered a change of plans.