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Kerala minister Kadakampally Surendran today flayed the reported remark of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) presidentthat even ifthe court lifted a ban on entry of women in the Sabarimala Temple, "respectable women" would not go to the hill shrine. TDB chief Prayar Gopalakrishnan reportedly made the remark while welcoming the Supreme Court decision to refer the matter relating to the ban on entry of women between 10 to 50 years of age to the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, to its constitution bench. The president of TDB, that manages the shrine, maintained that the board stuck to its stand that the restriction to the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 should continue. "We will not allow Sabarimala to become Thailand," he reportedly said. Kerala Minister for Devaswom and Tourism Kadakampally Surendran said he had insulted the women community and Ayyappa devotees with such a comparison. He wanted the TDB president to tender an apology for his remark. Surendran also said that the CPI(M)-led LDF government in the state was of the view that there should not be gender- based discrimination for entry in temples. "We will abide by the court ruling," he said. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra today framed five "significant" questions to be dealt with by the constitution bench, including whether the practice of banning entry of women in the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the constitution. The management of the Sabarimala Temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district, had earlier told the apex court that the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years is because they cannot maintain "purity" on account of menstruation.
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