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Transgenders who were denied entry to Sabarimala shrine earlier, allowed to visit on Tuesday

The delegation was on Sunday stopped from visiting the Lord Ayyappa temple by the Kerala Police.

Transgenders who were denied entry to Sabarimala shrine earlier, allowed to visit on Tuesday

A transgender delegation which was stopped from entering Sabarimala temple on 16 December was on Tuesday allowed to visit the shrine. The permission was given to the four transgenders after discussions with the chief priest. The delegation was on Sunday stopped from visiting the Lord Ayyappa temple by the Kerala Police.

Ananya, one of the members of the delegation, had claimed that the police officers on duty allegedly threatened and discouraged them to proceed further. Ananya alleged that they were even asked to change their clothes are dress up in men's attire.

"We began our pilgrimage on Saturday from Ernakulam and the special branch wing of the police was witness to the prayers and all the ritual functions that we undertook. But when we reached Erumely, the top police official was very rude and so was the female officials," Ananya had claimed.

"First they said, we will not be allowed to visit the temple in the ladies dress and they asked us to change to a man`s attire. Initially, we refused and after some time, we decided we will change, but the police changed their minds and asked us to return," she added.

However, the police denied the allegations saying that the team had voluntarily returned after being told about the situation.

The Sabarimala temple and surrounding areas have witnessed a string of protests after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on entry of women in the age group 10 and 50 years inside the temple. Despite the apex court verdict, no woman of the previously-forbidden age group has been able to enter the temple owing to widespread protests. 

The government's stand is that it was constitutionally bound to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict, allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the shrine, while the main opposition UDF has sided with the believers. The BJP is opposing any move to allow women in the 10-50 age group to trek the holy hill for darshan at the Ayyappa temple.

When the temple was opened for monthly and special pujas in October and November, there were massive protests by devotees, following which severe restrictions, including prohibitory orders, were imposed.