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Sabarimala Temple entry case: Jayamala's bold claim that stoked controversy in 2006

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Bengaluru, Sep 28: The 20 years struggle for the women's entry to Kerala's Sabarimala Aiyyappa temple is coming to an end on Friday. The Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will deliver the historic verdict.

Jayamala, Minister for Women and Child Development. File photo

In 1991, Kerala High Court upheld an age-old restriction on women of a certain age-group entering Sabarimala temple. A two-judge bench decrees (on April 5) that the prohibition by the Travancore Devaswom Board that administers the hill shrine does not violate either the Constitution or a pertinent 1965 Kerala law. The issue was not discussed until Kannada film industry actress Jayamala publically claimed in 2006 that she had entered the precincts of Sabarimala in 1987 as a 27-year-old.

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Why did Jayamala claim that she entered the temple?

In 2006, a famed astrologer, P Unnikrishna Panicker, conducted a temple-centric assignment called 'Devaprasnam' and declared having found signs of a woman's entry into the temple sometime ago.

Subsequently, Jayamala admitted that she had entered the temple way back in 1986. A complaint was filed in this regard and case was on in Kerala High Court. However, the high court quashed the charge sheet filed by the police on the basis of astrological findings in 2012.

The day her was case quashed, OneIndia spoke to Jayamala to get her action on the matter.

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Jayamala said, "For God all of us are equal. We are his children. Then how can temple authority deny entry to woman at her menstruating age," Jayamala asks. We have seen practices like Sati system, Devadasi vanishing from the society as social reformers found brutality and atrocity carefully perpetuated against women. "The society has to evolve with moving time," she stressed.

She said, "Illogical and unscientific arguments putforth by the Travancore Devaswom authorities to maintain the practice intact is unacceptable and in other means deprivation of rights of women prescribed in the constitution."

Jayamala says female too pray to God and she too wants to engage in spiritual and platonic union with the God in a place designed for a spiritual visit. "I am not speaking against temple authority but I am speaking for religious rights for women."

When asked about Devaprasnam in which P Unnikrishna Panicker claimed of unearthing the truth, she said, "I don't want to speak on ordeal days but we have won the case in the Kerala High Court."

"Women should be allowed to seek blessings from the God who is resting on the hill," Jayamala reiterated. However, she maintained that women cannot enter temple when she is menstruating and it is self-rule imposed by herself."

"To enter the temple, one's heart must be pure," she added.

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