Pathanamthitta: New twists have surfaced in the Sabarimala story. The Travancore Devaswom Board has changed its previous stand that special facilities will be provided for women, who are visiting the shrine.

Board president A Padmakumar said no additional facilities would be provided to women, who may arrive for darshan in Sabarimala.

Further, Padmakumar said women who have visited Sabarimala earlier have been able to make do with the present facilities. The Kerala high court directions will guide our steps further. We have no plans, as of now, to deploy policewomen at the sannidhanam (sanctum sanctorum) during Tulam (Malayalam month). We don't want to insist that all women, irrespective of their age, should go to Sabarimala. We shall abide by the court order and move on only after proper consultations. As far as Sabarimala is concerned, the thantri (priest of the temple) society is the parental authority. If there is any problem in Sabarimala, they will find a solution to it.

Meanwhile, National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma criticised the participation of women in the protest against the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala. “The commission will not allow any law that violates the freedom of women,” said Sharma.

“I can’t understand why these women are staging protests over the Sabarimala verdict. Only those who wish can visit the shrine. Nobody is forcing them that they should go to the temple. Those who are against the verdict and those who oppose the verdict have equal rights,” she said.