Braving protesters, these women journalists report from the Sabarimala Temple
The Supreme Court, on September 28, ruled women between the ages of 10 and 50 years will be allowed to visit the Sabarimala Temple. So far, only men could visit the temple, and women in the menstruating age were kept out.
Verdict aside, the reality, however, is vastly different. Thousands of protesters heckled, intimidated, and in some cases, even attacked women entering the temple. No one was spared, not even those in the line of duty - journalists to be specific. Here is a big shout out to women journalists who stood their ground, and continued to report from the Sabarimala Temple.
1) The News Minute’s Saritha Balan
Saritha Balan was on the road leading to the Sabarimala Temple in a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus when angry protestors pulled her out and attacked her. Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief of NewsMinute took to Twitter to speak about Saritha and Republic TV's Pooja Prasanna.
2) Republic TV’s South India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna
According to Republic, Pooja was attacked by a mob of over 100 people at Nilakkal, which is on the way to the temple.
Following the attack, Pooja confronted Rahul Easwar, activist and President of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena, that allegedly led the protests. Rahul is the grandson of the former priest at the Sabarimala temple.
3) CNN News 18 reporter Radhika Ramaswamy
Radhika was also heckled at Nilakkal and a mob attacked the crew’s vehicle, damaging it.
4) India Today’s reporter Mausami Singh
According to a DailyO article, Mausami and her crew were on a bus when one of the protestors slapped her cameraman, and another tugged on her dupatta and pulled her hair. Mausami ended her article saying, "Well, I am here at Lord Ayyappa's door and even after all that went down, I don't regret being here and doing my job. And I will not hesitate to do it again.”
5) NDTV’s Kerala’s Bureau Chief Sneha Mary Koshy
Sneha Mary Koshy and her crew were heckled at the base camp in Pamba. In an NDTV blog, she said, “In a situation as this, I and other women journalists get immense pride to report what is happening on the ground accurately. It is our job. There is no question of gender here.”
Amid the protests and lack of regard for the Supreme Court’s decision, no matter what organisation these journalists belonged to, what stands out is that came together and stood as one unit.