Kerala: Denied Entry At First, Four Transwomen Were Later Given Permission To Visit Sabarimala
A group of four transwomen, who were denied permission by the police from proceeding to Sabarimala, were on Monday, December 17, allowed to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Transwomen denied entry
On Sunday, December 16, the police, citing law and order problems in the city, had sent back four transwomen – Anannyah, Trupthi, Avantika and Ranjumol from Erumely, which serves as a major halting point for pilgrims. Allegedly, the police had asked the transwomen to wear men’s clothes in order to visit the shrine and even went as far as to discredit their identities.
“The ban on menstruating women is not applicable to us. We had explained that to the police, they were not ready to allow us to the temple,” Ananya told the news agency IANS. The transwomen were dressed the traditional attire – black sarees and were carrying the ‘irumudikettu’ (sacred offerings to God). They were ridiculed and asked to change their clothes.
The permission to visit the temple came after the transwomen approached DGP A Hemachandran, Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham and a member of the Kerala High Court-appointed supervisory panel.
Police gave a nod
Hemachandran has been quoted by PTI as saying, “I heard them and after meeting me they also met other police officers. What I understand is that TGs have gone to Sabarimala earlier. There is no objection (to TGs), only security concerns. They may go to Sabarimala at an appropriate time.”
Additionally, the police nod came after both the family of thanthri (priest) as well as the Pandalam royal palace agreed on the fact that there were no restrictions on transpersons who wanted to enter the shrine, reported The Indian Express. Reportedly, the police officials indicated the fact that while on September 28, the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on women from entering the temple, the law on transpersons is unclear. Reportedly, the four transwomen have filed a complaint against the police officials for mocking their identities.
The entire state of Kerala has been witnessing massive protests ever since the historic Supreme Court judgement which lifted the ban on women of menstruating age entering the temple. A large number of protestors have also been arrested over the last few months. Reportedly the Supreme Court is set to hear review petitions on its order from January 22, 2019.