Women officers played a key role in coordinating the Sabarimala pilgrimage

While the entry of two middle-aged women into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala three years ago led to a breakdown in law and order in the state, during this ongoing pilgrimage two female officers of middle-aged have been key in ensuring a smooth pilgrimage amid grim situations like the Covid pandemic and severe weather alerts.

Divya S Iyer, an IAS officer from 2014, who is the collector of Pathanamthitta district where the temple is located, and district police chief R Nishanthini, an IPS officer from 2008, played a key role in coordinating the pilgrimage which began in November. and ends on January 20.

The two officers limited their visit only to Pampa, the starting point of the trek, to where women are allowed according to beliefs and traditions.

The District Collector’s active involvement in coordinating the pilgrimage even received much attention with his recital Ayyappa keerthana in Pumba on occasions like the arrival of the ‘Thanka Anki’ (golden ornaments) procession from the Aaranmula temple to the shrine. of the hill which has gone viral on social media.

Iyer said DH that it was a unique and empowering experience as she could coordinate arrangements at Sabarimala Sannidhanam by not going there, that too in difficult situations like severe weather warnings and Covid pandemic. The extensive CCTV coverage helped her monitor the arrangements at Sannidhanam while sitting at her desk. An additional district magistrate, Arjun Pandiyan, was assigned exclusively to Sabarimala as she could not visit the Sannidhanam premises.

“I am very happy with the positive feedback that the atmosphere of devotion at Sabarimala has been restored as the temple has seen unfortunate developments over the past few years,” said Iyer who had visited the temple with her father when she was a child.

Incidentally, Health Minister Veena George, who is the Pathanamthitta district minister, is in her 40s and that could be the reason why she has not visited the temple to review the arrangements either, a source said. responsible for the temple.

During the 2018-2019 pilgrimage, there was a severe breakdown of law and order, not just in Sabarimala but across the state, with widespread protests of Hindu attire against women entering. in the age bracket of 10 to 50 years as a result of a Supreme Court order. But the 2018 SC ordinance lifting restrictions on women between the ages of 10 and 50 (considered menstrual age) at the Hill Shrine was later sent for consideration by a wider bench by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. Therefore, the state government decided not to implement the 2018 ordinance allowing women of all ages to visit the temple until further notice from the SC.

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