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SC moved for safe passage to all women at Sabarimala

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SC moved for safe passage to all women at Sabarimala
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New Delhi: A woman, who was allegedly attacked while she attempted to visit the Sabarimala temple, moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking directions for the Kerala government to ensure safe passage to any women visiting the temple.

Bindu A, who identifies herself from the Dalit background, had attempted to visit Sabarimala temple on November 26, but was "however, attacked in front of the office of the Commissioner of Police, Ernakulam District". Some chemical substances causing a burning sensation on the body, were sprayed at her face."

Last month, a five-judge bench of the apex court, in its decision on a review petition challenging the September 2018 judgement which allowed women of all age groups to gain to the temple, referred the matter to a seven-judge bench. It did not, however, stay the 2018 judgement.

Bindu, in the petition filed through advocate Prashant Padmanabhan, contends police have failed to act in time or to give her adequate protection, as she was attacked by some unlawful elements while paying a visit to the temple.

"The situation is the same for any woman aged between 10-50 who wanted to visit Sabarimala, as there is an atmosphere of fear and lawlessness en route Sabarimala," she said in the petition.

Bindu had entered the Sabarimala temple last year. After her visit, a purification of the temple was conducted by the chief priest and she equated it with a form of untouchability, as pointed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in his concurring view in the 2018 judgment.

Bindu has asked the top court to direct the Kerala government to respect, fulfill and protect the rights of all women regardless of age to enter the Sabarimala temple without hindrance, particularly by preventing the unruly mobs or individuals from obstructing them from entering the temple.

She has sought top court direction to immediately stop the process of age verification and counselling done by the police officials at the behest of Kerala government discouraging women of menstruating age from visiting Sabarimala.

"Direct the State of Kerala to give wide publicity to the September 2018 judgment through the medium of television, newspapers, etc both local and national," said the petition.

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