Contrary to its earlier report prepared to be presented in Supreme Court, which said that 51 women within the 10-50 years age group had entered Sabarimala since the apex court lifted the bar on entry of women, the Kerala government on Monday told the Assembly that only two women in the age group had had darsan at the hill shrine.
Answering a question from Opposition Congress, and CPM leader Kadakampally Surendran told the Assembly that only two women within the 10-50 years age group visited the temple as per the report of the executive officer of Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the shrine. The minister also said the visit of the Sri Lankan woman named Kanakalatha, aged below 50, was not confirmed.
To another question, the minister said the Supreme Court has not directed the government to give special protection to women who come to visit at the temple.
Last month, the state government had prepared a list to be submitted in the Supreme Court, which claimed that 51 women below the age of 50 had visited the temple during the recent pilgrimage season, the first after the Supreme Court lifted the age bar on entry of women.
However, it was soon found that many women whose names were on the list were above the age of 50. Some of the names in the list also happened to be that of men.
The government had then claimed that police had found that 51 women in the 10-50 years age group used the online registration system for the visit and added that it was not sure if they entered the shrine.
Two women from Kerala, A Bindu and Kanakadurga, both below the age of 50 years, visited the temple with police protection on January 2 in their second attempt to trek to the shrine.