The gates of the Sabarimala Temple are all set to open for the annual Mandala Pooja festival, two days after the Supreme Court referred the verdict on the Sabrimala issue to a larger bench. Devotees will be able to attend the annual Mandala pilgrimage from Saturday, November 16. According to reports women of all age groups will be allowed to enter the temple but they should seek a court order for police protection. 

sabarimala temple
The Sabarimala ShrineARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images

'No protection for women or activists'

Ahead of the opening of the Sabarimala Temple, Kerala Devaswom Board Minister K Surendran said during a press conference at Thiruvananthapuram that the state government will not provide protection to any woman visiting Sabarimala temple.

Activists should not see Sabarimala as a place to show their strength. If they need police protection, they should get an order from the Supreme Court - K Surendran

In an interview, women rights activist Trupti Desai said she will visit the temple regardless of whether or not she is provided security cover.

I will go to Sabarimala after November 20. We will seek protection from the Kerala government and it is upto them to give us protection or not. Even if not provided with protection, I will visit Sabarimala for the darshan - Trupti Desai, Activist

A 36-year old Dalit woman claimed that she entered the Sabarimala temple disguised as an elderly woman on january 8, 2019
A 36-year old Dalit woman claimed that she entered the Sabarimala temple disguised as an elderly woman on january 8, 2019facebook

SC verdict on November 14

The Supreme Court on Thursday, November 14 referred to the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala temple and other religious places to a larger seven-judge bench.

A constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra delivered their verdict in the Sabarimala case at around 10.30 am.

supreme court of India
Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.IANS

The apex court had in September 2018 had allowed entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple. Before the verdict, women and girls of menstruating age were barred from entering the Ayyapa shrine. On Thursday, the SC gave its judgment on 65 petitions, including 56 review petitions, four writ petitions and five transfer pleas, filed after the state saw widespread violence and attack on women who tried entering the shrine.