Thiruvananthapuram: Thottuvelil Krishna Pillai Ayappan Nair, who formerly served as principal secretary, said that continuing 'ban' on young women in Sabarimala is "mere hypocrisy and double standards".

“At a time when Sabarimala devotees seldom observe 41 days’ strict vratham (fast) including celibacy, disallowing young women to enter Sabarimala is indeed gender discrimination,” said Nair, who was also the advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

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TK Nair also criticised the central government’s approach to the Sabarimala issue. He said to media that the Centre might want to keep Sabarimala issue alive till 2019 Lok Sabha election. He also said that they (Centre) may also be wishing the Sabarimala issue would bring in a negative influence on post-flood measures and development work of the Kerala government led by the LDF.

Earlier, Nair said his chorunu ceremony (chorunu is a ceremony wherein the newborn is fed with rice for the first time) was conducted in Sabarimala temple and his mother was also present in there at that time. This incident happened in the 1940s, according to him.

Women in the age group of 10 and 50 are banned from entering Sabarimala temple. He said Pandalam king had advised his parents to conduct his chorunu ceremony in Sabarimala. His mom, father and uncle were present there for the function.

According to Nair, earlier, ladies had entered Sabarimala temple without any restrictions, but now people are creating problems. It is argued that a 1991 Kerala high court judgment supported the restriction on women devotees into the temple.