Stung by widespread criticism over the numerous errors in the list of women who prayed at the Sabrimala temple, the Kerala government has decided to re-prepare the list.
A counsel of state government had presented the list in the Supreme Court on Friday, which reportedly had discrepancies in the age and names of women. The list was taken from the records of the online system, through which pilgrims register for having “darshan”.
The row erupted over flaws in the actual age of some of the 51 women, whom the counsel had referred to in the list as “banned” — on account of they being of menstruating age group of 10 to 50 years — who prayed at the temple this season.
State police chief Loknath Behera on Saturday asked senior officials to revise the list, which included even the name of men, besides several of the women above 50.
State Devasom (temples) Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media that his department has no role in the preparation of the list, while the president of the Travancore Devasom Board – custodian of the temple, A. Padmakumar said they are not responsible for this as they do not prepare statistics of the pilgrims in the temple.
Kanam Rajendran, state secretary of the Communist Party of India – the second biggest ally of the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government, said the entire responsibility of what has happened lies with the state government.
But the Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, the closest aide of Vijayan, defended him by saying that it is not just 51 women, but so many women have had “darshan” at the temple.
Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, both in the “banned” age group of 10 to 50 years, prayed at the Sabarimala temple.
It was after they approached the apex court seeking security for having safe “darshan” that a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari directed the state government to arrange adequate protection for them.
The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media.
“This goof-up reveals the abject failure of the way Vijayan is running the state,” said state BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai. (IANS)