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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Person: Gautham Rao
(201) 674-2065
navyashastra@shastras.org


Troy, Michigan--February 13, 2007--Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization, stands in solidarity with the Young Lawyers Association in India and other activist groups striving to end the prohibition of entry to women during the high pilgrimage season at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala. The temple is highly regarded as one of the most venerable in India. From November through January every year, millions of Hindu men from all over India and beyond march to the temple in honor of Lord Ayyappa, but women between the ages of 10 and 50 are banned entry. The rationale for the ban is unclear, though it has been suggested by many that it is rooted in ancient purity taboos; the unanimous orthodox support for it has never been seriously challenged until now.

"The fear of a woman's pollution is ancient and pernicious." said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman, "it is time to rid ourselves of the old prejudices and usher in a new era of spiritual equality," she added.