Sabarimala: Fresh protests as media is barred but no women of menstruating age enter


Fresh protests broke out on the second day of opening of the Sabarimala Temple. A woman, rumoured to be of menstruating age, was supposedly around the temple premises. Some journalists, including a camera person, were also attacked. Even though the Supreme Court had allowed the entry of women into the temple, no woman has so far been able to enter. 

The Sabarimala shrine in Kerala. Image/Shutterstock

The second day of the two-day Sabarimala temple opening was plagued with protests to prevent women of menstruating age from entering the temple. Fresh protests erupted when a woman, rumoured to be of menstruating age, reached the temple premises. This woman was a 52-year-old. According to NDTV, the lady, her son and a man were given police protection and taken to the Sannidhanam police station.

Yesterday, a 30-year-old woman, Anju, had reached the Pamba base camp wit her husband and two children but turned back. She told police that though she wasn’t keen on entering the shrine, her husband insisted that she did.

According to the PTI, another 25-year-old woman was stopped at Pamba on Monday. "We have information a woman on way to the temple but nobody has approached us so far for security," a police official at Pamba told PTI.

For security, 15 policewoman over the age of 50 are deployed at the shrine. When asked about why only women personnel over 50 years of age were deployed inside the temple, PTI quoted Inspector General of Police M R Ajith Kumar as saying that women staff of "eligible" age from various departments have been deployed at the temple for quite some time. He also rejected allegations that devotees had to face hardships due to the restrictions imposed by police.

Around 2,300 personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women, have been deployed in Sabarimala and adjoining areas. According to official sources, police has prepared a dossier of Hindu right-wing activists who are likely to visit the shrine to take part in the agitation against Kerala's Left Front government's decision not to file a review petition against the apex court order.

Even journalists were not allowed to leave the Nilackal base camp for Pamba on way to the temple yesterday morning but the restriction was lifted later in the day. A cameraman from Amrita TV, Biju, was injured during the protests at Sabarimala Temple, over the entry of a woman devotee.

Sabarimala had opened for six days on October 17 for the first time since the Supreme Court allowed women of menstruating age to enter the shrine but none of them could make it inside the temple precinct amid a wave of protests and violent clashes. Valiant attempts by around a dozen women, including activists and journalists in the 10-50 years age group, to script history came to nought as frenzied devotees heckled and harassed them, forcing them to retreat.

Both the Congress, the main opposition party in Kerala, and the BJP, which is desperately seeking to expand its footprint in the state, have lent support to the agitation against the Supreme Court verdict.

[Also read: After Sabarimala, women not allowed to enter pandal in Birbhum for Kali Puja]



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