‘Transgenders have gone to Sabarimala earlier’: Police chief after delegation enters hilltop shrine

New Delhi: Four transgenders, turned away by police from proceeding to Sabarimala, were on Monday given permission to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine, a top police official said.

The nod was given after the transgenders approached DGP A Hemachandran, a member of the Kerala High Court-appointed supervisory panel, and Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham here, a day after being disallowed to proceed.

Hemachandran said they met him and gave a representation.

“I heard them and after meeting me they also met other police officers. What I understand is that TGs have gone to Sabarimala earlier. There is no objection (to TGs), only security concerns. They may go to Sabarimala at an appropriate time”, he told PTI.

Nobody had raised objections. Police on duty there were apprehensive as the transgenders may be mistaken for young women, he added.

Ananya, one of the transgenders in the group, told reporters that they would proceed to Sabarimala soon.

“We are very happy and feeling very much proud. We have got permission by police to trek Sabarimala and offer prayers,” Ananya said.

However, the transgender said they will not wear male attire during the pilgrimage and would go to the hill shrine wearing sarees.

Police had stopped and sent back Ananya, Trupti, Renjumol and Avanthika at Erumeli, around60 km from the shrine, Sunday stating that they had to get some legal clarity.

Dressed in black sarees, the traditional pilgrim attire, all the four had carried the customary ‘irumudikettu’ (sacred offerings to the God) also.

The transgenders, however, said the previous ban on women in menstrual age was not applicable to them.

The state had witnessed massive protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala temple since the Kerala government decided to implement the September 28 Supreme Court order, permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.

Over a dozen women have so far made unsuccessful attempts to trek the holy hills.

The high court had earlier this month appointed the three-member committee, vesting them with powers to oversee law and order and other problems faced by pilgrims during the ongoing annual season.

(With inputs from PTI)