Transgenders allowed to pray at Sabarimala temple (Lead)
Thiruvananthapuram : Four transgenders, who were denied permission to visit the Sabarimala temple a day ago, on Monday got the sanction to pray at the temple, said one of them.
Speaking to the media on Monday evening, Ananya said they approached a Kerala High Court-appointed top police official here in the morning and insisted that they wanted to visit the shrine wearing sarees.
After meeting Director General of Police A. Hemachandran, Ananya told the media in the morning that they had placed their demand before the DGP, and wished to pray in the dress of their choice -- a saree.
"He (Hemachandran) has said he will check with the other two committee members and get back to us and he also asked us to meet IG of Police Manoj Abraham. Now we have got the permission to pray at the temple and we will be soon going for the darshan," said Ananya.
If required, they would also be given police protection for the darshan.
Ananya said they were so happy that their efforts had paid off and with this, transgenders from now on could freely go and pray at the Sabarimala temple.
On Sunday, the four-member transgender team, who came from Ernakulam, was stopped by the police at Erumely, the first base camp of the temple town.
The police first told them that if they change into men's attire, they would be allowed. However, later the police refused them the permission to visit the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Ananya said they were subjected to ridicules, threats and asked to return by the police.
From there, the team went and complained to Kottayam Superintendent of Police, A. Harishankar.
On Monday, they arrived in the state capital to meet Hemachandran.
The Kerala High Court on November 27 had set up a three-member observer panel to oversee the Sabarimala pilgrimage season, after numerous complaints surfaced against the manner in which the police were acting in the temple town.
Besides Hemachandran, the panel also consisted of P.R. Raman and S. Sirijagan, both retired high court judges.
The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, including those hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.