New Delhi | The Centre has asked the Kerala government to ensure peace across the state following protests against the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala temple, officials said.
In an advisory, the Home Ministry said the maintenance of law and order, including providing security to women wishing to visit the temple, was the responsibility of the state government.
The Kerala government must ensure law and order and full compliance of the Supreme Court order allowing women of the menstrual age group to visit Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa, a Home Ministry official said.
The state government has been impressed upon the fact that it would be in direct contempt of the Supreme Court order if female devotees of any age are stopped from entering the temple, he said, quoting the advisory sent on October 15.
Another official said the Kerala government, in its communication, has assured the Centre that the apex court order would be implemented and the law and order situation at the pilgrimage site was under control.
Yesterday, the iron gates of Sabarimala temple were opened for the first time since the Supreme Court allowed women of menstrual age to enter the shrine but none from the “banned” age group could make it to its hallowed precincts amid a welter of protests and violent clashes.
Women journalists were heckled, their vehicles smashed and young female Ayyappa devotees turned back as hordes of Hindu right activists besieged the road leading to the hill-top temple, abode to Lord Ayyappa, its eternally celibate deity.