- 9-year-old from Madurai visited Sabarimala with her parents
- Girl's placard said she won't visit Sabarimala until after 50
- Girl's father says, "We don't know what the Supreme Court said"
A nine-year-old girl at Sabarimala grabbed attention after she was seen with a placard, which read she will again visit the temple after she crosses 50. Janani, who comes from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, visited the temple with her parents on Friday.
"We don't know what the Supreme Court said. I feel that once my daughter completes 10 years of age, she will wait till 50 and then come to visit Lord Ayyappa. We love our Ayyappa," said Janani's father R Satish Kumar, adding that "he won't like it" if his daughter visits Sabarimala before she is 50.
A veil of tension enveloped the temple town on Friday after two women, surrounded by policemen, walked the 5-kilometre track from the base camp at Pamba to Sannidhanam, to reach the 18 holy steps that take devotees to the inner temple compound. They had to return after hours of standoff, as the head priest and 30 other temple employees, sat on the steps and clapped and sang Ayyappa songs to block the entry of the two women. The head priest also threatened to shut the temple and stop puja if the women entered.
In a letter, the Pandalam Palace Trust last evening wrote to the Sabarimala shrine administrators, asking them to shut down the temple if any ritual was broken. The Trust belongs to the Pandalam royal family of Kerala, which is historically known for its kinship with Ayyappa.
The letter said that if anything happens at the temple against the rituals, it must be shut down. The temple should be re-opened only after the tanthri cleanses the shrine, the letter said. The Pandalam Royal family had earlier said that if all women are allowed to enter the temple then Lord Ayyappa would curse devotees.
The Supreme Court in a landmark verdict on September 28, said women of menstruating age can't be barred from going to the temple and instructed the authorities to ensure that nobody was discriminated against.
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