Sabarimala:  The Erumely police on Sunday morning around 1:30am blocked a group of four transgenders who attempted to enter the shrine. According to reports, the group was asked to leave Sabarimala and go to Kottayam under police protection.

The four transgenders have been identified as Trupthi, Ananya, Avanthika and Ranjumol who are said to be from Kottayam and Ernakulam. The four also alleged that they had maintained the required fast and were carrying the irumudikettu (holy offerings Ayyappa devotees carry).

According to reports, Ananya posted a Facebook live video around 6.30am from a vehicle and said that transgenders have been previously been allowed to enter the temple after initial checks, but that people from Kerala usually don’t go.

In the video, Ananya said that police officials were aware of them climbing the hill, and that the officials were also present during the ceremonies for filling their irumudikettu. Ananya also alleged that were in contact with the police at Erumely and Nilakkal as they were approaching the hill. When they reached half-way, they were made to wait at Erumely police station. The police officials’ behaviour was said to be rude and insulting. They also did not allow them to go further.

Recently, on December 14, a 30-year-old transgender who was identified as Mohan from Tamil Nadu was sent back from Sannidhanam even after producing the required documents to prove Mohan was a transgender. Nonetheless, the Devaswom Board president, A Padmakumar said that he does not know whether it will be against the rituals but stated that the board will accept whatever initiatives the police take.