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Sabarimala protests updates: Shrine reopens tomorrow but board refuses to uphold 'tradition', to debate on review petition on 19 Oct

Sabarimala protests LIVE updates: The all-stakeholders' meeting failed to reach a consensus as Pandalam royal family and high priests of the temple walked out.

FP Staff October 16, 2018 16:37:36 IST
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Sabarimala protests updates: Shrine reopens tomorrow but board refuses to uphold 'tradition', to debate on review petition on 19 Oct

Highlights

12:25 (ist)

A mosque and a church enroute Sabarimala shrine are important stops for pilgrims

The Vavar mosque in Erumeli is an important halting point for pilgrims. According to The Indian Expressthere are stories about Lord Ayyappa's friendship with Vavar, who was a warrior. There is also a shrine dedicated to Vavar close to the main temple complex at Sabarimala. 

The report further said that a Christian connection also exists to the Sabarimala pilgrimage. The Arthunkal church dedicated to St Andrew and St Sebastian at Alappuzha is another popular halt for devotees on their way to Sabarimala. 

12:11 (ist)

Sabarimala temple has specific visiting days, but is open for people from other religions

Unlike other Hindu temples in the state, the Sabarimala temple is not open all-year-round. Devotees are only allowed to visit the shrine and offer prayers for the first five days of every month, according to the Malayalam calendar, and during the annual ‘mandalam’ and ‘makaravilakku’ festivals between mid-November to mid-January. However, the temple which is dedicated to Hindu deity, Lord Ayyappa, is open to people of all religions.

11:17 (ist)

Sabarimala chief priest warns of violence if women enter temple

Kandararu Maheshwararu Tantri, chief priest of Sabarimala temple has warned of violence if women between the ages of 10 and 50 try to enter the Sabarimala shrine. According to The Times of India, he said, "At no time before, has Kerala united like this. This is to us what Jalikattu was to Tamil Nadu. See the protests that are unfolding in the streets. Lakhs of people, most of them women, are up in arms against the order. In fact several Hindu outfits have rallied in the vicinity. This anger could easily escalate into violence if a few egotistic women try to enter Sabarimala." 

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Oct 16, 2018 - 16:31 (IST)

WATCH: Women's group Samam holds silent march

Input by DA Varghese/101Reporters

Oct 16, 2018 - 16:12 (IST)

Scenes from a street play staged by Samam Progressive Forum

Input by DA Varghese/101Reporters

Oct 16, 2018 - 15:57 (IST)

Banners put up by women's collective 'Samam' in favor of women's entry into temple

Images procured by DA Varghese/101Reporters

Oct 16, 2018 - 15:48 (IST)

Temple to open at 5pm tomorrow

The temple opens on Wednesday at 5 pm for the customary monthly pujas.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of devotees, including a large number of women, protesting against the Supreme Court ruling, gathered at Nilakkal and started checking all vehicles bound to the temple town.

"We are determined that come what may we will not allow a single lady in the age group 10 to 50 to reach anywhere near the temple. It's a matter of life and death and under no circumstances will we allow a breach of tradition," said a middle aged woman at Nilakal. The protesters are said to be mainly locals and others who have arrived from nearby areas.

IANS

Oct 16, 2018 - 15:22 (IST)

Kerala MP says SC verdict opposed in Kerala by people of all faiths 

Lok Sabha MP Anto Antony, who represents Pathanamthitta constituency under which the Sabarimala hill shrine comes said the apex court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the shrine have been opposed by all including the people from other faiths. 

Antony was in Erumely, an important pilgrim centre linked to Lord Ayyappa faith, for inaugurating a dharna organised by women's outfits of Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress (M).

"You see only one thing in the streets--protests by men, women and children against the Supreme Court verdict. This is the time for them to arrange facilities for welcoming crores of devotees visiting the hill shrine from the world over. No such activities are done this time around. Instead, you see only the protests by our people--the hosts chanting Ayyappa mantra," he said.

Oct 16, 2018 - 15:05 (IST)

 Shrine reopens tomorrow: What's next?

With the all-stakeholders' meeting turning into a failed attempt to reach consensus, the face-off between women pilgrims and devotees is likely to continue. According to the Supreme Court order, the Kerala government is duty bound to implement it in letter and spirit. 

However, the devotees' point of view is that awaiting the result on a review petition that is yet to be filed, they won't allow the 'celibacy' of their god to be disturbed in the meantime. The devotees who are against women's entry, have vowed that they will protest against women's entry and stop them at all costs, while several women activists and devotees have announced that they will attempt to enter the shrine. 

Oct 16, 2018 - 14:48 (IST)

Sabrimala Achara Samrakshan Samiti advices women to not violate tradition

Anoj from the Sabrimala Achara Samrakshan Samiti, advices women to not violate tradition. He said that this is a namajapa yagna to conserve the customs of the Sabarimala temple from time immemorial. It's the 10th day of this yagna. "We are trying to make the women who reach here understand the importance of these customs and preserve those,as crores of believers stand by it and visit the shrine." Depending on the decision taken by the Devaswom board, our Yagna committee will also meet and decide on how to go about it, he added.

Input by Pratyush Deep/101Reporters

Oct 16, 2018 - 14:32 (IST)

Kerala MP urges Centre to issue ordinance to get around SC order

Lok Sabha MP Anto Antony, who represents Pathanamthitta constituency under which the Sabarimala hill shrine comes, Tuesday urged the Centre to issue an ordinance to get around the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women in all age groups in the holy temple. 

Antony was in Erumely, an important pilgrim centre linked to Lord Ayyappa faith, for inaugurating a dharna organised by women's outfits of Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress (M) in protest against the Supreme Court verdict.   

Oct 16, 2018 - 14:27 (IST)

Kerala govt assures  women pilgrim of protection, says SC judgment will be implemented 

Chief  Minister Pinarayi vijayan asserted the government's resolve to implement the Supreme Court order. He said stern action will be taken against those preventing women devotees from going to Sabarimala temple. In a statement released by the CMO, Vijayan said that the government would post more women police pesonnel to provide protection to women who want to go to the temple.

Oct 16, 2018 - 14:15 (IST)

Pandalam royal family says board's assurance not satisfactory, can't waste time on it

"We have urged Devaswom Board to file a review petition immediately. And until the petition is heard, status quo should be maintained. However, the boards says they can discuss on our demand for review petition only by 19, which is not satisfactory for us. Hence we thought not to waste more time on it," PG Sasikumar Varma, Pandalam palace managing committee president said. 

Sabarimala protests Latest updates: "We have urged Devaswom Board to file a review petition immediately. And until the petition is heard, status quo should be maintained. However, the boards says they can discuss on our demand for review petition only by 19, which is not satisfactory for us. Hence we thought not to waste more time on it," PG Sasikumar Varma, Pandalam palace managing committee president said.

The all-stakeholders' meeting failed to reach a consensus as Pandalam royal family and high priests of the temple walked out. The royal family and tantris were demanding that the Travancore Devaswom Board files a review petition in the Supreme Court immediately, however, the board refused to accept that demand. The board reportedly agreed to file a petition after 19 November, following which, the royal family and the tantris walked out.

Kerala Deputy General of Police chaired a security meet a day ahead of the Sabarimala temple opens for devotees. This comes in the wake of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statement that the state government will enforce law and order and ensure the Supreme Court order is implemented.

Sabarimala protests updates Shrine reopens tomorrow but board refuses to uphold tradition to debate on review petition on 19 Oct

The base camp of Sabarimala shrine at Nalakkal. Firstpost/ TK Devasia

Amid raging protests over the Sabarimala issue, a Keralite woman, who announced her decision to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine, complained that she was being slut-shamed and subjected to threats and abuses on social media.

Devotees continue to reach the Sabarimala temple trek base camp even as vehicles are being stopped mid-way to check for plying women.

As the protests for stalling the implementation of the Supreme Court order on Sabarimala, allowing women of all ages to enter the Ayyappa temple, continue to grow, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said that all the facilities will be provided to women who will visit the temple from 17 October onwards and that no one will be allowed to take the law in their hands.

Women devotees protesting against the SC verdict are stopping vehicles at Nilakkal, the Sabarimala base camp, are persuading women not to proceed to Sabarimala. Those who are not listening to them are not being allowed to continue. Those who were stopped by the protestors included some women media persons.

The meeting between all stakeholders in the Sabarimala temple face-off has started in Thiruvananthapuram. The meeting called by the Travancore Devaswom Board is being held to build consensus on Supreme Court verdict allowing women in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine. The attendees include three tantris (high priest), board officials, and members of Pandalam royal family.

With the Sabarimala temple due to reopen for the first time tomorrow since Supreme Court allowed women’s entry, the Travancore Devaswom Board may seek more time from the Supreme Court to implement its order. As most of the stakeholders are agitated and protesting against the order, the temple board may cite poor infrastructure to seek more time from court and use it to try and establish consensus among groups.

Grandson of former high priest of Sabarimala Shrine, Rahul Easwar said that the Lord Ayyappa devotees were forced to take the route of Gandhian protests. Citing the example of a massive movement in Tamil Nadu, against the Supreme Court verdict banning the festival of Jallikattu, Easwar said we will also launch peaceful agitation to demand an ordinance to undo the Supreme Court's ruling that threatens our religious beliefs.

The Shiv Sena's Kerala unit has vowed to send a group of activists, who will commit suicide if women who are barred from entering the temple as per its customs attempt to enter the temple. The party will also deploy hundreds of its activists at Nilackkal and Pampa to block women from the menstruating age group.

Women, devotees and journalists alike, were being stopped at Nilakkal from proceeding towards the Sabarimala shrine of Lord Ayyappa. CNN-News18, reported that the protesters have started stopping cars heading towards the traditional trekking routes that lead to Sabarimala temple to check if any women are headed towards the temple.

Amid ongoing protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees over the Supreme Court judgment allowing women to enter the Sabarimala temple, Kerala Varma Raja, head of Pandalam royal family said that the apex court verdict was against the sentiments of devotees. He said that the central government should make necessary amendments to protect the rights of the believers.

The Pandalam royal family for ages has been closely interlinked with the lore of Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity at Sabarimala. During the annual mandalam festival at the temple between November-January, the male head of the family has privileges to perform certain ceremonies.

"Pandalam royal family follows the rights and rituals of Sabarimala temple. As far as the verdict is concerned, it is against the devotees. We have moved the Supreme Court against this. We will take appropriate step after analysing the outcome of the petition," Raja told media in a press meet.

Raja was here to take part in the protest march organised by Ayyappa Dharma Protection Committee against the 28 September verdict of the five-judge constitution bench, which had in its 4:1 verdict lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

The Constitution bench had said that banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and that the practice violates rights of Hindu women.

The royal family head said the issue was not political and he was not siding with any political party. He urged that the Centre to make necessary amendments in the law against the apex court decision.

"This is not a political issue. Not siding with any political party. It's a custom, tradition followed by thousands of believers. Central government should make necessary amendments in law with regard to this matter," he said.

Earlier in the day, while inaugurating the protest march at Jantar Mantar, he asked the Kerala Chief Minister to consider the sentiments of the believers.

"Chief Minister must consider the sentiments of the believers. The President of India and the Centre must interfere in the matter," he urged.

The BJP-led NDA had organised the protest against the LDF government's decision not to file a review petition against the Supreme Court's verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala Temple by lifting the ban on those between 10-50 years.

The state has been rocked by protests by Congress, BJP and Hindu outfits against the government's move to implement the apex court order.

Meanwhile in Kerala, amid continuing protests on the Sabarimala issue, a temple body which manages the Lord Ayyappa shrine Sunday invited various stakeholders for a meeting to discuss 'various aspects', including preparations for the annual pilgrimage season, beginning next month.

As Various Hindu outfits and Lord Ayyappa devotees have been staging protests over the last few days all over Kerala against implementation of the Supreme Court order, the call for talks is considered an attempt for a consensus.

The three-month-long annual 'Mandalam-Makaravilakku' pilgrimage season of the Sabarimala Temple will begin on 17 November.

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