Sabarimala updates: Trupti Desai's visit stalled; activist to return to Pune from Kochi following protests

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Sabarimala updates: Trupti Desai's visit stalled; activist to return to Pune from Kochi following protests
  • 18:34 (IST)

    Visuals from Cochin airport

  • 18:30 (IST)

    Trupti Desai to fly to Mumbai by 9.30 pm flight from Kochi, reports India Today

  • 18:13 (IST)

    Author Taslima Nasreen questions women's bid to enter Sabarimala

  • 18:06 (IST)

    Trupti Desai to return by tonight's Air India flight

    Social activist Trupti Desai informed the police of her return following unrelenting protest. She spent 13 hours at the airport.

  • 18:04 (IST)

    Sabarimala Karma Samithi holds protest against Trupti Desai in Thiruvananthapuram

    Meanwhile, social activist Trupti Desai, confined at Cochin airport en route to Sabarimala, claimed that the police have asked her to return to Pune.

  • 18:00 (IST)

    Visuals from Sabarimala temple

  • 17:47 (IST)

    Pandalam royal family welcomes TDB's move to approach Supreme Court

    Pandalam royal family coordinating committee president PG Sasikumar Verma has welcomed the Travancore Devaswom Board decision to move the Supreme Court for more time to implement its September 238 verdict. "It is a belated decision. It is a happy news for the devotees. It may help in ensuring a peaceful conduct of the pilgrimage season," he added. He said that the family had demanded this during the discussion held with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on 15 November .

  • 17:43 (IST)

    Rahul Easwar says Trupti Desai considering to go back 

    In a tweet, activist Rahul Easwar said that social activist Trupti Desai, who is currently at Cochin airport, might go back and will make an announcement about her decision by 6.30 pm.

  • 17:40 (IST)

    Tantri family welcomes TDB's decision to move SC

    The Tantri family has welcomed the Travancore Devaswom Board decision to approach the Supreme Court with a plea to grant more time to implement the court verdict allowing women of all aged to enter the temple. Tantri Kandara Ravjeevaru has appealed to the women in the age group of 10 and 50 not to make any attempt to enter the temple pending the TDB petition.

  • 17:38 (IST)

    Shops to remain open against police directive says TDB

    Travancore Devaswom Board president A Padma Kumar said that all the shops at Sabarimala will remain open throughout the night. He said that the board had rejected police directive to the shop owners to close the shops at 10 pm and hand over the keys to the police. Traders had refused to open the door in the wake of the police restriction saying that it would affect their business. The board is scheduled to conduct a second auction of the shops later in the day. About 50 percent of the shops had remained without takers in the wake of the police restriction.

  • 17:36 (IST)

    Tata Projects spends Rs 25 crore for developing temple assets damaged by August floods 

    The Tata Projects Limited has made free the reconstruction of the assets damaged by the August flood at the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. The company has spent Rs.25 crores for developing new infrastructure at Nilakkal and restoring the damaged facilities at Pampa, according to a statement from the chief minister’s office. The statement said that Tata Sons general manager TCS Nair had written a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Viajayan conveying the decision.

  • 17:33 (IST)

    First group of devotees takes darshan

    First group of devotees climb the 18 holy steps and take darshan at the temple after its reopening on Friday.

  • 17:30 (IST)

    TDB says there won't be any compromise on rituals

    "There will not be any compromise on the rituals & customs at Sabarimala," Travancore Devaswom President A Padmakumar said while addressing reporters.

  • 17:29 (IST)

    TDB to bring to SC's notice the damage caused due to protests

    The TDB will bring to the notice of the Supreme Court the damage caused to the temple and supporting infrastructure and the violent incidents in the hill shrine during the puja in October and November for justifying its plea for more time to implement the verdict. TDB chief A Padma Kumar said that they will not propose any time for the relaxation.

  • 17:24 (IST)

    Travancore Devaswom Board comes down heavily on Kerala Police 

    "Unwarranted restrictions will not be allowed at the Sannidhanam," TDB president A Padmakumar. As per law, the TDB has the final say at the temple Sannidhanam.

  • 17:23 (IST)

    TDB to move SC over implementation of order

    The Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to move the Supreme Court more time to implement the 28 September verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the temple. TDB president A Padma Kumar said that a deciision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the board in the light of the suggestions received at the all-party meeting and the talks with the Thantri and Pandalam royal families convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Viajayan after consulting legal experts. He said that the petition will be filed tomorrow or on Monday.

  • 17:16 (IST)

    Pilgrimage season takes off on tumultuous start

    The two-month-long Mandala Makaravilakku festival at Sabarimala took off on a tumultuous start with the opening of the temple at 5 pm. The main function on Friday is the installation of the new melshantis (chief priests) at the Ayyappa and Malikappuram temples. VN Vasudevan Nampoothiri, 51, and MN Narayanan Nampoothiri, 52, will be ushered in as the chief priests of Ayyappa and Malikappuram temples respectively by the outgoing priests at a solemn ceremony. The temple will be closed after the ceremony at 10 pm. A large number of devotees have trekked the hill to witness the function. The temple  will be opened at 4.30 am on Saturday for the regular pooja.

  • 17:07 (IST)

    As temple opens, Rahul Easwar says 'we will guard and save Sabarimala'

  • 17:06 (IST)

    Visuals from Sabarimala temple

  • 17:00 (IST)

    Sabarimala gates open for devotees

    This is the third time the shrine is opening since the Supreme Court lifted the age-old ban on entry of women in 10-50 age group. No woman from the age group has been able to offer prayers so far following stiff resistance by devotees and activists, who are opposing any change in the temple traditions.

  • 16:53 (IST)

    'Police can't take Trupti Desai to Sabarimala'

    CNN-News18 quotes police sources as saying that the police has decided that they can't take social Trupti Desai to Sabarimala temple this time in view of the law and order situation. The source blamed Desai's publicity of visit for the decision.

  • 16:49 (IST)

    Thirty members of Kerala Police commandos deputed at Sannidhanam, reports CNN-News18

    Several devotees have been protesting against the restrictions imposed by the police on their stay at Sannidhanam.

  • 16:45 (IST)

    Devotees throng Pampa base camp

  • 16:32 (IST)

    Will take final decision on returning home after 6 pm, says Trupti Desai

    Tripti Desai said, "I will take a final decision after 6pm whether to return or to stay put at Cochin Airport depending on the law and order situation. Police has told me that the law and order situation is highly volatile. Even if I have to go back now I shall return in this Sabarimala season."

  • 16:21 (IST)

    Devotees protest against police restrictions at Sabarimala

    Devotees have started airing protests against the restrictions imposed by the police on their stay at Sannidhanam. Rajashekharan, a devotee from Kollam, said that the police insistence to return from the Sannidhanam after the closure of the sanctum sanctorum at 10 pm would deny an opportunity to devotees to take part in the Neyyabhishekham, which is an important ritual in the temple.  He said that many devotees, especially the aged to return to the Sannidhanam for the ritual which begins at 5.30 am.

  • 16:20 (IST)

    Lack of drinking water, clean toilets compound trouble of devotees 

    Devotees are saying they have no facilities available at Pampa base camp. There is no clean drinking water available at Pampa right now. Also toilets and other facilities in Pampa are in pathetic condition. No repair of any sort have been done by the government post the floods.

  • 16:18 (IST)

    Sabarimala Achara Samrakshna Sammiti lodges complaint against Trupti Desai

    A formal complaint has been given against Trupti Desai by Sabarimala Achara Samrakshna Sammiti for creating religious disharmony trying to wilfilly violate the rituals of Sabarimala. The compliant has been given to the Kerala DGP.

  • 16:11 (IST)

    Cochin Airport authorities complain to Home Ministry, say incessant protests hampering operations 

    Cochin International Airport has informed the Union Home Ministry about the protests going on at the airport against the move by Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai to go to Sabarimala for darshan. The company said that the mounting protest was affecting the functioning of the airport. CIAL MD VJ Kurien had earlier held discussions with the state police about resolving the issue. The police have refused to take her out of the airport. They have agreed to provide her support if she arranges a vehicle and find out an accommodation.

  • 16:03 (IST)

    Southern Railways run special trains for Sabarimala devotees

    As the Sabarimala shrine is set to reopen today, Thiruvananthapuram division of Southern Railway has decided to operate Sabarimala festival special trains to clear the extra rush of traffic in between Chennai-Kollam and Hyderabad-Kollam. Train Number 06047 Chennai Central – Kollam special fare special train will leave Chennai Central at 8.40 pm on 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26 and 31 December and 2, 7, 9 and 14 January to reach Kollam at 12 noon the next day. In return journey, Train No.06048 Kollam – Chennai Central special fare special train will leave Kollam at 3 pm on December 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20 and 27 and January 3, 8 and 10 to reach Chennai Central at 9.45 am the next day.

  • 15:57 (IST)

    Kerala HC rejects anticipatory bail for activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to enter shrine in October

    The Kerala high court said that Facebook posts of activist Rehana Fathima, a BSNL employee who had made an attempt to enter the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, should be investigated to ascertain whether they "were deliberately intended to outrage the religious feelings of the community". It should also be verified whether other people were involved, whether posts were made as a part of larger conspiracy, the court said. The court also rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Fathima,

  • 15:55 (IST)

    Author Taslima Nasreen questions women's 'eagreness' to enter Sabarimala shrine 

  • 15:53 (IST)

    Kochi-Mumbai air tickets available, tweets activist Rahul Easwar 

    Rahul Easwar, who has been consistently organising protests against women's entry to the shrine, on Friday took to Twitter to mock Trupti Desai's attempts to reach Sabarimala. He even tweeted out that tickets between Kochi and Mumbai.  

  • 15:42 (IST)

    No takers for shops near hill shrine in view of police restrictions in Sabarimala 

    Devotees, who have no facilities to perform the daily chores and rest at Sabarimala, may have to go without food, beverages and even pooja materials as the shopkeepers have not come forward to open the shops in the light of the restrictions imposed by the police. They said that the police insistence to close the shops at 10 pm would affect their business. Devaswom Executive Officer said this would also affect the revenue of the Travancore Devaswom Board. He said that about 50 percent shops at the hill shrine had no takers when the auction was conducted on Wednesday. The board will be conducting another auction later in the day.

  • 15:34 (IST)

    Police to file cases against 250 people for protesting outside Kochi Airport

    The Kerala Police has decided to register cases against at least 250 people sitting on protests outside the Cochin International Airport. 

  • 15:33 (IST)

    'Trupti Desai must go back', demand BJP, Devaswom Board; Kerala police issues new restrictions

    Travancore Devaswom Board president A Padmakumar said, "It is better to send Trupti Desai back." Agreeing with the board, BJP has also asked the Kerala government to send Trupti back to Maharashtra. "She is trying to purposely instigate a law and order situation in Kerala,"said Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai.

  • 15:31 (IST)

    Heavy rains lash Sabarimala, nearby areas as devotees throng shrine 

    Meanwhile, heavy rains are lashing Sabarimala and nearby areas and devotees have not yet been allowed to leave for Pamba from here, a key base camp enroute to the temple.  

    Image sourced by TK Devasia

  • 15:24 (IST)

    Unprecedented security arrangements at Sabarimala 
     
    There is heavy deployment of police personnel in and around Sabarimala temple as it opens at 5 pm this evening for the "Mandala Makkaravillakku" puja in the backdrop of protests witnessed during the previous two occasions when the shrine opened.

    Over 15,000 personnel, including women police personnel and 860 women civil police officers, would be deployed during the season, when lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country are expected to throng the shrine.

     
    Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC banning assembly of four or more people is also in force in and around​ Sabarimala from midnight Thursday for a week.

  • 15:12 (IST)

    Protests break out in Pampa against police restrictions on devotees

    According to reports, Thrissur Commissioner of Police GH Yatish Chandra has said that police will only allow people with passes. "It makes our work easier, so I request devotees to get their passes. We won't stop devotees with passes but their entry will be delayed if they don't have one," he said. 

    Similarly, the police has also banned devotees from staying at the temple beyond 10 pm. Protests broke out at Pampa against these restrictions imposed by the police on the devotees as well as the traders.

  • 14:53 (IST)

    Updated visuals of Trupti Desai inside Kochi airport

  • 14:51 (IST)

    'It is better to send Trupti Desai back': TDB president A Padmakumar

    Speaking to reporters in Pampa, Travancore Devaswom Board President A Padmakumar said  that"it is better to send Trupti Desai back."

    The TDB also expressed its displeasure on the enhanced police restrictions at Sannidhanam. Where the police had banned overnight stay for devotees, the Board said the move will seriously hamper the 'ney abishekam' ritual, which can cause a lot of inconvenience to devotees.

    The Board president rushed to Trivandrum from Pampa to meet the DGP and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan regarding the matter.

  • 14:45 (IST)

    No stay in Sannidhanam after 10 pm, says Kerala police

    As per a report from CNN-News18, the Kerala police has said that no person will be allowed to stay in Sannidhanam after the temple's sanctum closes at 10 pm on Friday.

    The police have said that all shops should be closed by 10 pm, and all food counters will close after 11 pm.

  • 14:41 (IST)

    KPCC chief denies links with Trupti Desai

    Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran denied any link between the party and the Bhumatha Brigade chief Trupti Desai, saying: “She may have contested a local body election as a Congress nominee. It is her present political affiliation that is relevant now. I don’t know about that,” he added.

  • 14:39 (IST)

    State BJP chief urges govt to send Trupti Desai back

    State BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai urged the government to send activist Trupti Desai, who travelled to Kochi airport with the intention to enter the Sabarimala temple, back to Maharashtra.

    He said that the activist from Maharashtra had come to Kerala as part of her agenda. He said that the woman, who was an accused in several cases, should not be allowed to challenge genuine devotees vouching for the sanctity of religious customs.

  • 14:36 (IST)

    Police allow devotees to enter Sabarimala

    Police have started allowing devotees to go to the hill shrine ahead of it opening for the Mandalakala Makaravilakku festival. The two-month-long season will begin with the opening of the doors of the temple at 5 pm.

    The devotees, who have been travelling from Nilackal were detained at Pampa as part of the tight security put in place by the police. As per the security plan, the devotees who trek the hill will have to return after the temple closes at 10 pm.

  • 14:32 (IST)

    BJP leader says Trupti Desai has no connection with BJP or RSS

    Kerala BJP leader MS Kumar told CNN News-18 that Trupti Desai has no connection with the BJP or the RSS. He said that she has previously contested elections on a Congress ticket, adding that she does not know anything about Sabarimala.

  • 14:28 (IST)

    RSS leader says devotees leading the protests, and not the organisation

    Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Valsan Thillankary, whose help was sought by the police to prevent a flare-up at Sabarimala during a special pooja on 6 November, said that the organisation had no role in the protests being staged by devotees at Kochi airport.

    He said that the Ayyppa Karama Sena was leading the protests, adding that the devotees were protesting Trupti Desai's unwillingness to respect the customs and rituals of the temple. 

    The devotees will continue the protests if anybody try to enter the temple in violation of the customs, he said.

  • 14:24 (IST)

    Ask Trupti Desai whether she came as a devotee or an activist: Congress leader tells police

    Senior Congress leader and former minister Pandalam Sudhakaran has alleged a conspiracy behind activist Trupti Desai's attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple. He urged the police to take her into custody and ask her whether she came to Kerala as a devotee or an activist.  “A genuine devotee will not do anything that will destroy the peace in a place of worship. Trupti has come to Kerala to create trouble. This cannot be allowed,” he said.

    The Congress leader said that the protests at the airport are being carried out by devotees, including several women, and added that Desai should understand the devotees' sentiments, and desist from going ahead with her plan to enter the temple.

  • 14:21 (IST)

    A breakdown of the geography surrounding the Sabarimala temple

    A report from CNN-News18 explained the layout of the land near the Sabarimala shrine. It also broke down the ways in which devotees and others can travel to the temple.

  • 14:05 (IST)

    Airport authorities step in to end protests, say airport security at risk

    Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) authorities have stepped in to end the protests going at the domestic terminal against women’s entry at the Sabarimala temple. 

    Company managing director VJ Kurien informed police that the protests cannot continue indefinitely as it will affect the airport security. He said they will be forced to press Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel to remove the protestors if the police failed to disperse them.

    The airport authorities are also talking to Bhumatha Brigade chief Trupti Desai, who has been stuck inside the airport since 4.45 am, to either leave the airport or return to Maharashtra, as she has crossed the time permitted to a passenger to remain inside the terminal.

  • 13:42 (IST)

    RECAP: Kerala police detain devotees protesting women aged between 10 and 50 entering Sabarimala

    Kerala police were deployed in large numbers outside the Sabarimala temple after violent protests broke out in surrounding areas. Lord Ayyappa devotees were protesting the Supreme Court's verdict allowing women aged between 10 and 50 to enter the temple.

Sabarimala LATEST updates: After spending 13 hours at Cochin airport,social activist Trupti Desai informed the police that she will return to Pune following unrelenting protests.

The Tantri and Pandalam families have welcomed the Travancore Devaswom Board's decision to approach the Supreme Court with a plea to grant more time to implement the court verdict allowing women of all aged to enter the temple. The gates of the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala opened for devotees at 5pm for the two-month pilgrimage season. Meanwhile, reports said that social activist Trupti Desai was asked by the police to leave Kochi.

Trupti Desai said, "I will take a final decision after 6pm whether to return or to stay put at Cochin Airport depending on the law and order situation. Police has told me that the law and order situation is highly volatile. Even if I have to go back now I shall return in this Sabarimala season."

Cochin International Airport has informed the Union Home Ministry about the protests going on at the airport against the move by Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai to go to Sabarimala for darshan. The company said that the mounting protest was affecting the functioning of the airport. CIAL MD VJ Kurien had earlier held discussions with the state police about resolving the issue. The police have refused to take her out of the airport. They have agreed to provide her support if she arranges a vehicle and find out an accommodation.

Strengthening his attempts to thwart Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala, Rahul Easwar said, "Trupti Desai should go back. She will have to step on our chests and walk over us if she wants to enter Sabarimala Temple."

The Kerala Police has decided to register cases against at least 250 people sitting on protests outside the Cochin International Airport.

Travancore Devaswom Board president A Padmakumar said, "It is better to send Trupti Desai back." Agreeing with the board, BJP has also asked the Kerala government to send Trupti back to Maharashtra. "She is trying to purposely instigate a law and order situation in Kerala,"said Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai.

Speaking to reporters in Pampa, Travancore Devaswom Board President A Padmakumar said  that"it is better to send Trupti Desai back."

The TDB also expressed its displeasure on the enhanced police restrictions at Sannidhanam. Where the police had banned overnight stay for devotees, the Board said the move will seriously hamper the 'ney abishekam' ritual, which can cause a lot of inconvenience to devotees.

Activist Trupti Desai at the Cochin International Airport. Image sourced by TK Devasia

Activist Trupti Desai at the Cochin International Airport. Image sourced by TK Devasia

The Board president rushed to Trivandrum from Pampa to meet the DGP and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan regarding the matter.

The Kerala police has said that no person will be allowed to stay in Sannidhanam after the temple's sanctum closes at 10 pm on Friday.

The police have said that all shops should be closed by 10 pm, and all food counters will close after 11 pm.

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) authorities have stepped in to end the protests going at the domestic terminal against women’s entry at the Sabarimala temple.

Company managing director VJ Kurien informed police that the protests cannot continue indefinitely as it will affect the airport security. He said they will be forced to press Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel to remove the protestors if the police failed to disperse them.

The airport authorities are also talking to Bhumatha Brigade chief Trupti Desai, who has been stuck inside the airport since 4.45 am, to either leave the airport or return to Maharashtra, as she has crossed the time permitted to a passenger to remain inside the terminal.

The Kerala Police has beefed up security in light of the tension in the state, and has deployed 15,259 police personnel in four phases during the festive season.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran urged the BJP and the Congress to persuade Bhumatha Brigade chief Trupti Desai to drop her decision to enter the Sabarimala temple and return to Maharashtra. He said that the activist would listen to the leaders of the two parties since she was associated with them. Instead, they are trying to violate her freedom of movement.

In a fresh attack on Congress, the BJP's national IT in-charge Amit Malviya said that activist Trupti Desai had in 2012 contested the Pune Municipal Corporation elections on a Congress ticket.

He went on to accuse the Congress of "shedding every tradition of Hindu society, one step at a time."

The Kerala high court on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to enter the shrine when the temple opened in October for the first time since the Supreme Court verdict. The court further instructed the Kerala police to go ahead with necessary action against the activist, according to reports.

Refusing to back off despite repeated requests from devotees, Trupti Desai has said that she is not afraid of the death threats. She said that adequate should have been provided to her and the protests should have been stopped. "However, we will go their and see what level of security does the state government provide to us. Even if the state doesn't give us any security, we'll still go, but I can be attacked," Desai said.

Talking to media over phone, Trupti Desai said she would not go back to Maharashtra without a darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple. However, BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje questioned her intent behind entering the temple."Where is ur 'irumudi kettu' (holy bundle)?? SC never told to break the traditions of Irumudi and 41 days of Vratham," Shobha asked.

Sabarimala devotees protesting outside Cochin International Airport have now resorted to checking private vehicles heading out from the airport and hotels in the city to ensure that Trupti Desai doesn't slip out of the airport with police's help.

The Kerala Police have sought the help of leaders of the Sangh Parivar and Hindu organisations to dissuade Maharashtra-based woman activist Trupti Desai from going to Sabarimala. Hindu Aikya Vedi general secretary RV Babu is coordinating the effort. However, Trupti has not been responding to his telephone calls.

Social activist Trupti Desai, who announced that she will attempt entering the Sabarimala shrine on Saturday, was stranded at Kochi airport almost four hours after she landed in Kerala. The protesters have blocked the exit of the airport, reports have said. The shrine opens on Friday for a two-month pilgrimage.  The police's attempt to take Trupti out through the cargo area failed as the mob of protesters outside the airport swelled considerably.

Founder-president of the Bhumata Brigade, Desai, had also spearheaded the movement to ensure entry to women at the Shani Shignapur temple in Maharashtra.

When asked if she was scared for her life (for attempting to enter Sabarimala), Desai replied, “No, because this is a fight for equality. I’m an activist, but I’m also a devotee of God. I led the movement at Shani Shignapur because I’m a devotee. If God doesn’t discriminate among devotees, who are we to?”

An all-party meeting called by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday ahead of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season starting on Friday failed to end the temple row, with the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP walking out.

After the meeting, Vijayan met representatives of the Pandalam royal family, the Sabarimala Tantri and the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB).

The Opposition accused Vijayan of sticking to his original stand that the government would abide by the apex court directive.

The all-party meeting was called after the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay its 28 September verdict which allowed all females, including those in the hitherto banned age group of 10-50, to pray at the temple.

The meeting ended when UDF and BJP leaders announced they had to walk out as Vijayan insisted that his government had to abide by the apex court ruling.

Both in his opening and closing remarks, Vijayan insisted that the law of the land was above issues of faith.

"The state government is not at all prejudiced. The Supreme Court on two occasions has made its point very clear. Hence the state government has to abide by the verdict," said Vijayan.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala told the media: "This was a golden opportunity for the Kerala government to see things in perspective as the temple opens tomorrow (Friday). But Vijayan was adamant that the temple tradition will have to be breached.

"We just cannot agree to anything that affects the emotions of the Sabarimala devotees. So we felt there was no point in continuing with the meeting," he said.

State BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai the meeting was a waste of time.

"The meeting was just dramatics. Its script was done at the CPM headquarters. The attitude of the government is now clear. It is to thrash the devotees who come for the pilgrimage. We will continue with our protests," said Pillai.

A fresh two-month festival season at Sabarimala starts on Friday at 5 pm. It ends on 20 January.

Speaking to the media, Pandalam royal family member KPS Varma said there was no change in their stand on the entry of women into the temple.

"The meeting was very cordial and the chief minister presented his views. We said we will have to talk about it in detail," said Varma.

Sabarimala tantri Kanteraru Rajeeveru said his plea to women was: "Please do not come to the temple."

Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra reached the temple town on Thursday morning to oversee the security arrangements. Around 5,000 police officials will be posted in and around the town.

According to the temple authorities, more than 800 women in the banned age group have already registered in the virtual Q online system to visit the temple.


Updated Date: Nov 16, 2018 19:32 PM

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