Kochi: 'Virtual Q Booking,' an online portal jointly launched by the Kerala Police and the Travancore Devaswom Board for providing easy 'Darshan' and hassle free experience during Sabarimala pilgrimage, is now denying the rights of girl children aged below 10 years.
According to parents who applied for Virtual Q Booking for Darshan through the online portal for Sabarimala pilgrimage, they could secure bookings for Darshan, but their girl children aged below 10 years could not make the booking as the system is not accepting their request.
"The portal denies request for booking from girls aged below 10 years, denying their religious and fundamental rights," the parents told newspersons here on Monday.
"There is absolutely no justification for denying entry to the girls below 10 years to the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. Such a restriction was imposed as part of the measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic."
"This restriction against girls exist when the Government decides to increase the pilgrim flow from 5,000 to 10,000 everyday during the monthly opening of the temple," they felt.
A few days ago the Kerala High Court issued an order, while hearing a petition in this regard from a girl's parent, directing the authorities to ensure Darshan for the girl below 10 years old.
However, the authorities treat this HC order as an individual case insisting people to move the Court again separately with their case and get such an order to consider their case for their girls' entry, causing difficulties especially for economically backward parents of girl children.
But, the 'Virtual Q Booking' does not restrict the Darshan for women above 50 age group.
It may be noted that women between the age group of 10 and 50 (menstruating age) are not allowed to enter the temple as part of its centuries old customs and traditions. (UNI)