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    Kerala minister: No protection for women visiting Sabarimala

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    The Left-led government in Kerala said on Friday it has no plan to give protection and take women to the Sabarimala, a day after the Supreme Court kept the doors of hilltop shrine open to women for now but decided to set up a larger bench to revisit it’s verdict from last year from a wider perspective.

    The state’s temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the government will not encourage women to gate crash the temple.

    “It is proper to maintain the status quo at the temple. The government is all for peace,” Surendran said during a press conference in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

    The five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi gave its decision on Thursday in a majority 3:2 verdict. Justice Indu Malhotra, who have given a challenging judgment in this case last year, and Justice AM Khanwilkar were the other two judges.

    Justice RF Nariman and Justice DY Chandrachud have backed rejecting the 65-odd review petitions against the September 2018 verdict that opened the doors of the Sabarimala temple to women.

    The 2018 verdict had called the practice of barring women of a certain age group from entering the temple illegal and unconstitutional, triggering protests by traditionalists in the state.

     It had held that their exclusion on the basis of biological and physiological features denied women the right to be treated as equals.

    There were huge protests outside the temple nestled in the Western Ghats in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district after last year’s verdict. Two people were killed and 50,000 protesters were booked at its peak by the police.

    The protests had the support of temple priests, who insisted that the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is a celibate and women of menstruating age can’t be allowed.

    The minister said the government has sought legal advice and it got an opinion to maintain status quo.

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