A middle aged female Congress worker from Kerala has claimed of entering the Sabarimala temple in disguise of an old lady. Posting images of her disguised appearance as an old lady, Congress worker SP Manju Joseph claimed that she entered the shrine in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, little after 7:30am.
SP Manju claimed that she scaled all the eighteen holy steps to the temple, and offered prayers inside, while escaping police scrutiny. Manju also claimed that she like all other devotees, carried an Irumudi (bag with offerings for Lord Ayyappa) to the temple.
Congress party in Kerala has been against the State government’s interventions in the temple traditions. But now with this incident, questions would be raised at the loyalties of the Congress party. Reportedly, before joining Congress, had been an activist with the CPI and SFI. She had attempted to enter the temple on an earlier occasion as well, but failed due to resistance from the devotees and priests. It is noteworthy that some reports suggest, there are as many as 14 criminal cases pending against Manju.
This comes days after, two women of reproductive age infiltrated inside the shrine at early morning with the help of police. The action met with widespread protests. Right after the incident, the temple was closed down for purification ceremony.
It must be noted that women of reproductive age are not allowed inside the Sabarimala shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Despite that a Supreme Court order in late 2018, abolished the ban on the entry of women, majority of priests and devotees are not in favor of breaking the centuries old tradition. The devotees along with the priests have foiled numerous attempts by women of forbidden age to enter the temple since the Supreme Court verdict.