Sabarimala case lawyer gets 500 threat calls

GN Bureau | January 15, 2016



A lawyer, who is leading the campaign for the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala to allow entry to women, has received 500 threatening phone calls. Interestingly, many of the calls came more from the US, the supreme court was informed today.

Naushad Ahmed Khan, President of the Indian Young Lawyers' Association (IYLA), said the calls included threats to blow up his house and warned him to drop his petition in the supreme court.

Earlier this week, the top court, in response to Khan's appeal, said the ban on women worshippers appears to be unconstitutional.   Judges said today that they will decide on Monday on what sort of security should be given to Mr Khan

The court has asked the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the famous Sabarimala temple, to clarify why it prohibits women from entering the shrine dedicated to Lord Ayappan.   But Kerala government authorities and temple officials are standing firmly by the decades-old tradition that says women of reproductive age cannot enter the shrine because if they are menstruating, they are "impure".

The temple only allows entry to girls aged under 10 and women over 50.

Scores of women took to social media last November, joining a campaign launched as #happytobleed, after the head of the temple said he would consider allowing women to enter if there was a machine to check if they were menstruating.

An estimated one million Hindu pilgrims flock every year to the Sabarimala temple in the Western Ghats hills to pray to the deity Lord Ayyappan who meditated at that spot, according to Hindu mythology.

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