Escorted by police, four transgenders offer prayers at Sabarimala temple

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 18, 2018, 03.14 PM(IST)

Transgenders offer prayers at Sabarimala temple. Photograph:( ANI )

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Clad in traditional black sarees, Ananya, Trupti, Renjumol and Avanthika carried the customary 'Irrumudikettu' (sacred offerings to the deity) to the temple. 

A delegation of transgenders, which was previously stopped from proceeding to offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple, offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple on Tuesday, news agency PTI reported. 

Clad in traditional black sarees, Ananya, Trupti, Renjumol and Avanthika carried the customary "Irrumudikettu"(sacred offerings to the deity) to the temple. They were escorted by the police.

They expressed happiness on being able to offer prayers at the temple. 

On Sunday, the delegation alleged that the police harassed them and said they were not banned from darshan at the shrine, but the police said there was a need to get some legal clarity in this issue.

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They said they reached here in the early hours but the police were reluctant to provide them security and permission to proceed further. They also alleged that the Erumeli Police even asked them to change into male attire for proceeding to the Lord Ayyappa temple. 

"The ban on menstruating women is not applicable to us. Though we have told this to the police, they were not ready to allow us to proceed further. They harassed us mentally and forced us to wear a male dress," Ananya said.

The delegation then met DGP A Hemachandran, a member of the Kerala High Court-appointed supervisory panel, and Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham here Monday after which they were allowed to proceed.

The Supreme Court of India this year had ruled in favour of the entry of women of all age groups into the shrine. The temple authorities previously didn't allow women of menstrual age (ageing 10-50 years) into the holy site. 

Scores of  Lord Ayyappa devotees protested the apex court's decision. Over a dozen women have so far made unsuccessful attempts to trek to the holy hills.

(With inputs from PTI)