Thiruvananthapuram | Two women devotees including a journalist on Friday returned from 500 meters away of the Sabarimala shrine amid protest by the temple priest to stop the ritual of the temple if the women enter the shrines of Lord Ayappan.
The women had trekked 5kms with the help of 300 policemen in riot gear escorting them to the temples 500 metres away from the 18 steps the golden steps that lead to temples shrine. The women faced protest from the dozens of priests who were chanting and clapping to stop the women if they make to the last half km.
Kerala: Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima are now returning from Sabarimala. Kerala IG says “We have told the female devotees about the situation, they will now be going back. So we are pulling pack. They have decided to return” pic.twitter.com/IO9TwcEj5V
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
Speaking to media on the protest of Sabarimala devotees S Sreejith, the Inspector General of Police who was leading the police escort said, ” I am also an Ayyappa devotee but I believe I’ve come here to enforce the Supreme Court order. Those women have the right to visit the temple.”
Describing the women trying to enter the temple as an activist not devotees, Devaswom Board minister Kadakampally Surendran told media that any genuine devotee who wants to go up will be given protection. “But we will not allow activists to turn Sabarimala into a place to prove themselves,” claimed Surendran.
There are some people like activists trying to enter. It’s impossible for govt to figure out who is who. We know there are 2 activists. One is believed to be a journalist as well: Kadakampally Surendran, State Devaswom (religious trusts) Minister #SabarimalaTemple #Kerala pic.twitter.com/EWPUJuQWOm
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
Earlier section 144 was imposed in parts of Kerala after violence erupted near the Sabarimala Temple as protestors tried to stop women from entering the temple premise. The local administration has imposed Section 144 which prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area has been imposed in Pampa, Nilakkal, Sannidhanam and Elavungal areas near the Sabarimala Temple.
Various protestors on 17th October blocked female journalists and women devotees from entering the temple premises. The protesting crowds took control of the Nilakkal area and pelted stones at Police vehicles, including the KSRTC buses on way to Pamba. The women were forced to get out of there vehicles who were on their way to the shrines. To bring the situation under control the police lathi-charged and pelted stones at the protestors opposing women’s entry from age 10 to 50 in the Sabarimala Temple at the Nilakkal base camp in Kerala.
The Supreme Court earlie on 28 September in a historic judgement allowed women from the age of 10 to 50 to enter in the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. The five-judge constitutional bench headed by former Chief justice Deepak Misra in a 4:1 verdict allowed the entry of women of all age in the Sabarimala Temple.