//Ban on women at Sabarimala criticised

Ban on women at Sabarimala criticised

BANGALORE: Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane has criticised the Sabarimala authorities for barring women in the age group 10 to 50 from entering the Ayyappa temple there.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, sanghatane president K. Neela condemned the temple priests for denying entry to women. This was a reflection of a feudal and anti-women attitude, which is against the principles of democracy, she said.

It was also shameful that the Kannada actor Jayamala had confessed to touching the idol in the Ayappa temple 20 yeas ago.

Why should women not enter the temple and touch the idol, Ms. Neela asked. (Ms. Jayamala has claimed that she entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and touched the Ayyappa deity in 1987 when she was 27 years old.)

The sanghatane urged the State Government and the people to safeguard the social and religious rights of women. The Constitution had abolished gender discrimination and given equal rights to women, she said.

K. Marulasiddappa, writer, said the people of Kerala had remained silent on the issue. No organisation had come forward to oppose the insult to women. Women's organisations should collectively fight against such discrimination in temples, he said.