Kerala's list of 51 women who entered Sabarimala has a Tamil Nadu man
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 19: Kerala government's latest claim that 51 women of menstrual age entered the Sabarimala shrine during the ongoing pilgrimage season has created a flutter and threatened to erupt into a controversy.
The list, in a violation of privacy, had the phone numbers, addresses and Aadhaar numbers of the 51 people. It has, however, turned into a huge headache for the government as several persons on it have denied the state's claims.
According to the list given by the Kerala government, 24 women from Tamil Nadu, 21 from Andhra Pradesh, 3 from Goa and 1 each from Karnataka, Puducherry and Goa entered the shrine to offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa.
Interestingly, the names of Kanakadurga and A Bindu, both from Kerala and below the age of 50, were missing in the list despite confirmation that the duo had visited the temple.
The Kerala government has informed the Supreme Court that a total of 51 women have entered the Sabarimala shrine since the apex court order threw open its doors to women of all ages.
The number came as a surprise as till now only two women - Bindu and Kanakadurga - were reported to have reached the hill-top shrine braving protests by right-wing activists and devotees.
The BJP, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti and the Pandalam royal family, associated with the Lord Ayyappa temple, came down heavily on the state government saying there were discrepancies in the age of the women devotees mentioned in the affidavit. This is the first time the government has stated that 51 women in the previously barred age group have entered the temple.
BJP state President P S Sreedharan Pillai termed the government's submission as "the biggest lie of the century."
The state had witnessed widespread violent protests for several days from January 2 after the LDF government confirmed that two women in menstrual age entered the shrine following the September 28 apex court order allowing women of all ages into the shrine.