Amidst uproar on the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple, a 36-year-old Dalit activist, Manju, from Kerala has claimed that she entered the hilltop temple and offered prayers to Lord Ayyappa on Tuesday, January 8.
In order to prove Manju's claims, a group called 'Renaissance Kerala Towards Sabarimala' has posted a series of photos and videos on their Facebook page. In one of the videos, Manju can be heard claiming that she entered Sabarimala on January 8 and faced no resistance as a young woman devotee, adding that she offered prayers and spent around two hours in the temple.
Manju also said that she sought the support from Ayyappa Seva Sangham to offer prayers in the hilltop shrine revealing she comes in the category below 50 years.
Manju, who had earlier tried to enter the shrine in October, was dissuaded by the police citing heavy rainfall in the area.
One of the pictures on Facebook shows that Manju dyed her hair grey in order to look old (above 50 years) and refrain from protests or being attacked by protesters. Presently, Kerala is witnessing protests triggered in several parts of the state after two women of menstruating age- Bindu and Kanakadurga- entered the hilltop shrine.
Several organisations also called a state-wide shutdown on January 3 to protest against the entry of the women into the Lord Ayyappa shrine. BJP also held a protest march in various parts of the state against the entry of women into the hilltop shrine. On September 28, 2018, the Supreme Court had lifted ban on entry of women between 10 to 50 years into the Lord Ayyappa shrine