A 36-year-old Dalit woman from Kerala on Wednesday claimed she trekked to Sabarimala and offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
A post on the Facebook page Navothana Keralam Sabarimalayilekku said Manju, a native of Chathannoor, had prayed in front of the presiding deity on Tuesday and none of the devotees present there protested. The page posted videos of Manju at the shrine.
“I started the trip from Thrissur and visited the shrine on January 8. I spent almost two hours at the Sannidhanam (main temple complex). I also sought help from the Akhila Baratha Ayyappa Seva Sangham members who happily helped me to offer prayers,” PTI quoted her as saying.
According to the Hindustan Times, Manju is a worker of the Mahila Dalit Federation. “I had a fruitful darshan of the presiding deity. I came as an ordinary pilgrim. But, of course, to dodge protestors, I dyed my hair grey and pretended to be an aged woman. Nobody noticed me and I will continue my visit in future also,” she said, quoted HT.
Manju claims she did not seek police protection and entered the temple’s sanctum sanctorum after scaling the 18 holy steps.
The chief minister’s office and the police, however, have refused to confirm Manju’s visit.
Kerala has been on boil since January 2, when two women of menstrual age entered the hilltop shrine in the wee hours escorted by police personnel, three months after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on entry of girls and women in the 10-50 age group.
A Lankan woman below 50 years also succeeded in entering the temple a couple of days later.
BJP and right-wing outfits, who have been protesting against the state government’s decision to implement the September 28 order of the apex court, intensified the agitation, leading to widespread violence after Kanakadurga and Bindu entered the shrine.
The protests also saw return of political violence after a gap with houses of BJP-RSS and CPI(M) leaders coming under country-made bomb attacks in the past few days.
(With PTI inputs)