Pathanamthitta: Female devotees will now have to furnish their age proof while visiting Kerala's Sabarimala Temple, where entry of women aged between 12 and 50 is banned.
According to ANI, the direction from the temple authorities comes after numerous incidents of women of the banned age group being detained from entering the temple.
However, it is not mandatory and full-fledged verification will not be carried out, but those found suspicious will have to show their age proof which could be any ID card approved by the government, ANI reported.
Women of menstruating age group are banned from entering the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, but the rule was being violated during the three-month annual pilgrimage, which attracts scores of worshippers to the temple.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Annie Raja has slammed the temple authorities, saying that the directive was a violation of the rights of women to worship.
"It is once again denying the rights of women to worship any God. Women were actually demanding entry into the Sabarimala Temple, but it is unfortunate that the temple authorities deny and are now demanding age proof," Raja said.
"God does not discriminate between man and woman but these custodians of God are denying the women their rights to worship," she added.
(With ANI inputs)