Sabarimala re-opens latest updates: Kerala HC directs govt to allow all devotees and media inside temple, says 'don't interfere'

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Sabarimala re-opens latest updates: Kerala HC directs govt to allow all devotees and media inside temple, says 'don't interfere'
  • 14:25 (IST)

    Congress leaders accuse Centre and state govt of politicising issue, suggest bringing in ordnance to solve matter

    Earlier, Congress leaders PJ Kurien and Ramesh Chennithala had accused the Centre and the state governments of politicising the issue instead of finding a solution to it.

    The former deputy speaker of Rajya Sabha, PJ Kurien, told ANI, "We don't want any violence, but the government (state) is trying to enforce the Supreme Court's order, trying to allow women between 10-50 years to enter the temple. My view is that the government (state) should call the interest of all parties and try to settle the issue." He suggested that similar to the Jallikattu row, an ordinance can be issued to solve the problem. "The government (state) can move to the court to review the order and try to find a solution, instead of converting Sabarimala into a place of conflict. Similar to the Jallikattu, an ordinance can be issued. If that is done, the whole problem will be solved," he said.

    Echoing the same sentiment, Ramesh Chennithala told ANI, "We want peace in Sabarimala. There should be a conducive atmosphere for all the pilgrims to go to Sabarimala. There is no pilgrim only police force at Sabarimala, this is atrocious. They (Centre and State governments) are creating problems and not doing anything for the pilgrims. There is a sizable decrease in the number of pilgrims in Sabarimala."

  • 14:06 (IST)

    Metal detectors put in way, crowd combating arrangements done along route to shrine

    The temple town is witnessing one of its stringent security arrangements. There were more than 2,300 police officials posted at various point up the pilgrimage path after the state took over the shrine's security on Saturday. Several metal detectors have been kept at various points and crowd combating arrangements were also in place, IANS reported.

  • 13:54 (IST)

    Kerala HC says devotees and media should not be stopped, govt should not interfere in temple's working

    Kerala High Court has said that devotees and media at the Sabarimala Temple should not be blocked. The govt should not interfere in day to day activities of the temple and a department level inquiry must be conducted on policemen who had damaged the vehicles, ANI reported.

  • 13:47 (IST)

    Devotees seethe over deployment of less number of KSRTC buses

    Devotees trekking from Nilakkal to Pamba are angry over operation of fewer state-run buses and many of them have registered their protest by walking through the route. "Why is the government hellbent on harassing devotees? There are thousands of us and very few buses. Is this how they want to treat us?' one of the pilgrims told The Indian Express.

  • 13:28 (IST)

    State BJP chief says 'Sabarimala is a golden chance for us': Reports

    Kerala BJP president Sreedharan Pillai has allegedly said that the temple chief priest had discussed with him the option of closing down sanctum sanctorum to prevent women from entering the shrine, Matrabhoomi reported. According to local media reports, an audio tape of Pillai has surfaced in which he is heard saying to the Sabarimala priest that "people are falling for our propaganda". 

  • 13:10 (IST)

    In October, 3,371 people were arrested for violence during Sabarimala entry row
     
     
    This is the second time the hill temple would open for 'darshan' after the Supreme Court allowed entry of women of all age groups into it. The temple had witnessed high drama last month following frenzied protests leading to around a dozen women in the age group of 10-50 being prevented from reaching it and police and the agitators fighting a pitched battle over the LDF government's decision to implement the court order. So far, 3,731 people have been arrested and 545 cases registered in connection with the violence in October, PTI reported.
     
     

  • 12:54 (IST)

    Protests likely if devotees stopped during trek to temple

    Officials fear protests by devotees if they are stopped on their way to the shrine, sources said.

  • 12:41 (IST)

    Govt shuttle services run between Nilakkal and Pamba

    In Nilakkal, according to The Indian Express' report, the situation is extremely calm and under police control. Private vehicles have been stopped and devotees are being sent in state transport buses to Pamba.

  • Women police personnel seen guarding the temple premises

    This is reportedly the first time women police personnel have entered the temple premises. 15 women police personnel were posted on Monday morning and after reporting for duty, they entered the temple.

    Image courtesy: TK Devasia

  • 12:23 (IST)

    In Pics: Devotees begin trek from Nilakkal base camp 

    Ayyappa devotees will trek from the Pamba and Nilakkal base camps to reach the premises of the Sabarimala temple.

  • 12:18 (IST)

    Devotees begin trek to hill shrine amid tight security

    Amid tight security, devotees of Lord Ayyappa began the trek from the Nilakkal base camp to the hill shrine ahead of the temple's opening, ANI reported. Devotees were seen trekking up the hill while chanting hymns in praise of the deity. After the special 'Athazha Puja', the temple will be closed on Tuesday evening.
     

    Nilakkal base camp in-charge Manjunath H told ANI, "There is adequate police deployment here. We are not restricting the movement of devotees."In the wake of violent protests during the last monthly pooja, the state police have issued prohibitory orders at Pamba, Nilakkal and other areas near the shrine and are maintaining vigil on vehicles going towards the temple.
     

  • Police locks up govt guest houses at Sannidhanam 

    All guest houses belonging to different government departments at Sannidhanam have been locked up by the police. No one will be allowed to stay in these rooms, sources said

  • Sabarimala thantri prohibited from talking to media

    Media was not allowed to talk to the Sabarimala temple thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru at Sannidhanam. A group of media persons had approached him following reports in a section of the media that he had threatened to close the temple if women of menstruating age entered the temple in violation of the temple customs. However, a senior police officer prevented the reporters and cameraman from talking to the thantri citing the prohibitory orders in force in the hill shrine.

  • BJP protests at Thiruvananthapuram bus station

    BJP protested at the Thiruvananthapuram main bus station after buses were not allowed to go to Pamba base camp

    Image courtesy: Naveen Nair

  • BJP leader says will protest against KSRTC if devotees are not taken to Sabarimala; buses resume operation

    The police allowed KSRTC to operate service from Nilakkal to Pamba following blocking of buses by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram. Inaugurating the blockade, senior BJP leader PK Krishna Das said that Ayyappa devotees will not allow KSRTC to operate buses anywhere in the state if it did not take the latter to Sabarimala.

    Earlier private vehicles carrying devotees were allowed up to Pampa, the base camp. The permission was withdrawn following extensive damage the base camp suffered in the flood.

  • Media gag for Sabarimala Thantri and Melashanti 

    Police have enforced a media gag at Sannidhanam. Both the Thantri (chief priest) and Melshanti (operational priest) have been asked to keep away from media.

    Meanwhile, mobile network jammers have been installed in the sannidhanam.

  • BJP says 'such clampdown unheard of in Kerala'

    BJP leader PK Krishnadas said that such a clampdown in Sabarimala is unheard of in the history of the state. "This an infringement on the rights of devotees. Pinarayi Vijayan government is creating a war zone in Sabarimala," he said. 

  • Tension eases at Nilakkal base camp as state-run buses begin services

    The tension at Nilakkal, the main gateway to the Sabarimala hill shrine, has eased with the state-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) beginning service to the base camp at Pamba. The first bus carrying devotees who came for the Chithira Atha Visehsham pooja left Nilakkal around 11 am.

    The devotees, who had come to Nilakkal from various places, had staged protests when police refused to give nod for the bus service. Following heated exchanges, they were allowed to proceed to Pamba by foot. Buses from Erumeli, a major entry point, also operated after 10 am following protests.

  • 11:05 (IST)

    Sabarimala thantri and chief priest Namboodiri  to open temple gates together 

    Thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru and chief priest Unnikrishnan Namboodiri would jointly open the temple doors and light the lamp at the 'Sreekovil' (sanctum sanctorum), the Indian Express reported.

  • 10:49 (IST)

    Devotees protest after not being allowed to leave for Pamba and Sannidhanam

    Devotees and media personnel who had arrived at Erumeli on Sunday evening, are protesting for not being allowed to leave for Pamba and Sannidhanam (the temple complex) from the base camps, The Indian Express reported.

  • 10:46 (IST)

    Protestors block Erumeli-Elavumkal Road; allege that police is putting deliberate restrictions to ward off devotees 

    Protestors have blocked traffic on the Erumeli-Elavumkal Road since 8 am on Monday as they are protesting against the traffic curbs imposed by the Kerala Police on the roads leading to Sabarimala. The protesters have alleged that the police have been creating obstacles for Sabarimala pilgrims coming from different parts of South India in the name of security issues, The Hindu reported.

  • 10:42 (IST)

    Police cordon off Neelimala entry point to prevent devotees from trekking to shrine until 2 pm

    The police have cordoned off the Neelimala entry point to the Sabarimala trekking path, to stop the pilgrims from undertaking the trek to the shrine till 2 pm, The Hindu reported. According to the report, the District Police Chief, T Narayanan said that all Pampa-bound vehicles are subjected to police checking and surveillance from Vadasserikkara onwards.

  • Kerala BJP president criticises Left-led govt for imposing restrictions on Ayyappa devotees

    State BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai has come down heavily on the Kerala government for the restrictions imposed on Ayyappa devotees going to Sabarimala for the Chithira Atha Visesham pooja. "Devotees are being stopped by the police at many points along the route. Private vehicles are being stopped and no state-run transport corporation services are being operated. This is an attack on the fundamental rights of the people," he said adding that the devotees will react against this and his party will support them peacefully.

  • Face-detection technology, CCTV camera installed at shrine to prevent protestors from entering

    The police have deployed face detection machines at Sabarimala to prevent protestors from going to the hill shrine disguised as devotees. The machines contain pictures of about 4,000 people, who had indulged in violence during the monthly pooja in October. This is the first time that Kerala is using the latest technology for security. Apart from the face detection machines, high-quality CCTV cameras have also been installed at every nook and corner at Nilakkal and Pampa base camps.

  • Temple priests threaten to close the shrine if women from menstruating age group enter premises

    The priests at the Lord Ayyappa temple have threatened to close the temple if women between the age of 10 and 50 years entered the sanctum sanctorum. According to local media reports, the thantri (high priest) and melshanthi (chief priest) made their position clear to Inspector General of Police S Ajit Kumar when he called on them to discuss the arrangements for the Chithira Atha Visesham pooja. Such a declaration by the thantri during the monthly pooja in October had led to huge criticism. 

  • 10:02 (IST)

    Police conducting checks at various points on way to Ayyappa shrine

    Heavy police deployed is seen at the Nilakkal base camp. 

  • Watch: Devotees chant in protest at Erumeli, one of the entry points to the shrine

    Video courtesy: TK Devasia

  • 09:44 (IST)

    Situation in Kerala 'explosive', political parties target Pinarayi Vijayan govt

    Noting that the situation in Sabarimala was "explosive," Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran accused the CPM-led LDF government of 'failing' to handle it. Thousands of police personnel had been deployed in Sabarimala which was akin to "challenging and suppressing" the devotees, he alleged.

    Whereas, BJP leader MT Ramesh warned that any attempt by police to hinder devotees from visiting Sabarimala would lead to "serious repercussions." Police would not be allowed to inspect the 'irumudikettu' (offerings devotees carry for Lord Ayyappa), he said.

    BJP and various Hindu outfits are on a warpath against the Left-front government over its decision not to seek a review of the top court verdict. As of Sunday, the police had registered 545 cases and arrested 3,731 persons who protested in October when the temple opened for six days. Only around 100 people are still in jail, while the rest have secured bail.

  • 09:37 (IST)

    Rahul Easwar says he is 'fully prepared', shares mobile number with protestors

    Activist Rahul Easwar, president of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena which is among the outfits spearheading the protests, in a video message on Sunday said, "Like police, we are also fully prepared".

    Easwar, belonging to the Thazhamon family of Sabarimala thantris, was arrested twice in October in connection with the protests in and and around Sabarimala against the government's decision to implement the court verdict and also for making certain remarks. He is currently out on bail.

  • 09:28 (IST)

    No woman has asked for police protection to go to the shrine; no restrictions on media persons: Kerala Police

    Pathanamthitta district Superintendent of Police T Narayanan said there had been no request from women to enter the shrine till Sunday. "So far no women in the 'barred' age group had approached police for protection to offer prayers at the hill shrine," he told PTI. A high-level meeting of senior police officers was held to take stock of the situation.

    However, dismissing reports that media was being restrained from going to Sabarimala, Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behara said there was no bar on entry of journalists. "No restriction of any sort has been imposed on media persons," the top cop added. "To ensure necessary protection to the media, we are not allowing them now. As soon as security arrangements are complete, media will be allowed in Sabarimala and nearby places."

  • 09:25 (IST)

    Pandalam royal family says Ayyappa temple going through 'tough times'

    As a part of the Chithira Atha Visesham ritual, there will be special pooja for the last king of Travancore Chithira Tirunal Balarama Varma in addition to regular rituals are performed at Ayyappa temple including the Sahasrabhishekam, the Kalabhishekam, the Pushpabhishekam.  And after the Chithira Aattam the temple shall be closed at 10 pm on Tuesday.

    However, the representatives of the Pandalam royal family, the custodian of the jewellery of the Sabarimala temple, said the temple was passing through "tough times" as the temple town had been taken over by the police. The family said that it was also "pained" at the heavy security in and around Sabarimala. "Saddened that devotees will have to offer prayers at the shrine amid thick police cover," it said. Protesting the apex court verdict, a 'prayer yagna' will be held, the family was quoted as saying by PTI.

  • 09:19 (IST)

    Hindu groups urge media outlets to not send women reporters to cover the Sabarimala protests

    Meanwhile, several Hindu outfits in Kerala agitating against the entry of women of menstrual age into the famous Sabarimala Temple have urged media outlets not to depute women journalists to cover the issue. The 'appeal' was issued by Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint platform of right-wing outfits, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Aikyavedi, ahead of the temple's brief opening, which will be the second time after the Supreme Court allowed entry of girls and women in the age group of 10-50 into it.

  • Women police force deployed along the way to the Lord Ayyappa shrine

    Heavy police deployment is seen at the Pampa base camp of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

    Image courtesy: TK Devasia

  • 09:12 (IST)

    Temple to open at 5 pm today, close at 10 pm on Tuesday

    The shrine would open at 5 pm Monday for the "Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal" special puja slated for Tuesday, marking the birthday of last king of Travancore Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, and will close at 10 pm on Tuesday itself.

  • Ayyappa devotees and Kerala Police fight over document verification requirement for going to the shrine

    Ayyappa devotees and the police engaged in a wordy duel at Nilakkal, the main gateway to the Sabarimala hill shrine as the police has sought identity proof, phone number and address from the devotees going to the base camp at Pampa. Suresh, a devotee, said that a large number of devotees detained at Nilakkal had surrounded the police when they insisted on showing the documents to be allowed to proceed further. The police have stopped collecting the details following the protests.

  • 08:58 (IST)

    Devotees gather at Nilakkal base camp

    Police have maintained that they are not restricting the movement of the devotees. 

  • Women police personnel enter the shrine for the first time

    Women police have entered the Lord Ayyappa temple for the first time in the history of the Sabrimala pilgrimage. Reports from the hill shrine said that 15 women police above the age of 50 have reached the temple premises. They have been deployed to to deal with the women protestors.

    Meanwhile, though the police has agreed to allow the media to go to the temple in the morning, they are still detained at Pampa.

  • Stranded devotees launch protests, get into arguments with police personnel

    Ayyappa devotees stranded at Erumeli, 27 kilometres from Nilakkal, have launched a protest there after their vehicles were stopped by the police. The vehicles of devotees are being detained at Erumeli due to lack of space at the main gateway. The devotees, who include many who have come from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, launched the protests by chanting Ayyappa songs after a heated argument with the police.

  • Devotees to be checked by police at four points along the way to the shrine

    The police are checking the devotees going to Sabarimala at four points. Only those coming with irumudi kettu (a double-headed baggage in which pilgrims to the hill shrine carry their things and offering to the deity) are allowed to proceed further. The devotees are being detained at Nilakkal, the main gateway to the hill shrine. They will be allowed to go to the temple 25 kilometres away only in the afternoon.

    The devotees will be taken to Pampa, the base camp, in the state-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses. A large number of devotees, who have come from far away places in Kerala and the neighbouring states are stranded at Nilakkal since Sunday night.

  • Thousands Kerala Police personnel to keep an eye on protestors as Sabarimala temple opens gates again

    Protesters and police are poised for a face-off as the Sabarimala hill shrine opens doors to devotees at 5 pm on Monday for a special ritual celebrating the birthday of erstwhile Travancore King Sree Chithira Tirunal. While the protestors have vowed to prevent women between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the Ayyappa temple, over 3,000 police personnel have been deployed around the hill shrine to thwart their attempt.

    Since the Hindu outfits opposing the Supreme Court verdict have planned to field women to stop young women from trekking the hilltop, the police have kept ready a team 30 women police personnel above the age of 50 at the base camp for deployment in the trouble spots. The male cops deployed along the trekking route and on the temple premises have been armed with weapons.

Sabarimala re-opens LATEST updates: Kerala High Court has said that devotees and media at the Sabarimala Temple should not be blocked. The govt should not interfere in day to day activities of the temple and a department level inquiry must be conducted on policemen who had damaged the vehicles, ANI reported.

In Nilakkal, the situation is extremely calm and under police control. Private vehicles have been stopped and devotees are being sent in state transport buses to Pamba.

Media was not allowed to talk to the Sabarimala temple thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru at Sannidhanam. A group of media persons had approached him following reports in a section of the media that he had threatened to close the temple if women of menstruating age entered the temple in violation of the temple customs. However, a senior police officer prevented the reporters and cameraman from talking to the thantri citing the prohibitory orders in force in the hill shrine.

The police have cordoned off the Neelimala entry point to the Sabarimala trekking path, to stop the pilgrims from undertaking the trek to the shrine till 2 pm, The Hindu reported. According to the report, the District Police Chief, T Narayanan said that all Pampa-bound vehicles are subjected to police checking and surveillance from Vadasserikkara onwards.

The Kerala Police have deployed face detection machines at Sabarimala to prevent protestors from going to the hill shrine disguised as devotees. The machines contain pictures of about 4,000 people, who had indulged in violence during the monthly pooja in October. This is the first time that Kerala is using the latest technology for security. Apart from the face detection machines, high-quality CCTV cameras have also been installed at every nook and corner at Nilakkal and Pampa base camps.

Activist Rahul Easwar, president of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena which is among the outfits spearheading the protests, in a video message on Sunday said, "Like police, we are also fully prepared".

As the Lord Ayyappa temple opens on Monday for a special puja, a thick security cover has been put in place after violent protests were witnessed last month against the entry of women of all ages into the shrine. Orders banning assembly of four or more people have been imposed in Sabarimala and nearby areas, police said on Sunday.

Around 2,300 personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women, have been deployed to ensure smooth 'darshan' and security of devotees, a move that came in for criticism from the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, the BJP and the Congress for such fortification. If necessary, around 30 women police personnel in the rank of circle inspector and sub-inspector and above the age of 50 would be deployed at 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex) for security, they said.

Women police have entered the Lord Ayyappa temple for the first time in the history of the Sabrimala pilgrimage. Reports from the hill shrine said that 15 women police above the age of 50 have reached the temple premises. They have been deployed to to deal with the women protestors.

 Sabarimala re-opens latest updates: Kerala HC directs govt to allow all devotees and media inside temple, says dont interfere

Policewomen guard the Ayyappa temple premises. Image courtesy: Firstpost/TK Devasia

Pathnamthitta Superintendent of Police T Narayanan told PTI that all arrangements have been made for devotees to have smooth 'darshan.' Ayyappa devotees from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have already reached Erumeli and they will be permitted to go to 'Sannidhanam' only tomorrow. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPc, banning assembly of four or more people, is in force at Pamba, Nilackal, Elavungal, and Sannidhanam for 72 hours from midnight on Saturday.

This is the second time the hill temple would open for 'darshan' after the Supreme Court allowed entry of women of all age groups into it. The temple had witnessed high drama in October following frenzied protests leading to around a dozen women in the age group of 10-50 being prevented from reaching it and police and the agitators fighting a pitched battle over the LDF government's decision to implement the court order. The shrine would open at 5 pm Monday for the "Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal" special puja slated for Tuesday, marking the birthday of last king of Travancore Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, and close at 10 pm on Tuesday.

Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru and chief priest Unnikrishnan Namboodiri would jointly open the temple doors and light the lamp at the 'Sreekovil' (sanctum sanctorum). Devaswom minister, Kadakampally Surendran, said the government would ensure complete protection to believers. So far no women in the 'barred' age group had approached police for protection to offer prayers at the hill shrine, he said.

A high-level meeting of senior police officers was held to take stock of the situation. During last month's pujas, media persons were attacked by a section of protesters and police had to face criticism. Dismissing reports that media was being restrained from going to Sabarimala, Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behara said there was no bar on entry of journalists. No restriction of any sort has been imposed on media persons, he said. "To ensure necessary protection to the media, we are not allowing them now. As soon as security arrangements are complete, media will be allowed in Sabarimala and nearby places."

The Pandalam royal family, closely associated with the Ayyappa shrine, said it was "pained" at the heavy security in and around Sabarimala. "Saddened that devotees will have to offer prayers at the shrine amid thick police cover," it said. Protesting the apex court verdict, a 'prayer yagna' will be held, the family said.

Meanwhile, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a platform of right-wing outfits, including VHP, appealed to media houses not to depute women journalists in the menstrual age group to cover the developments in Sabarimala. In its letter to editors, a copy of which was released to the media, it said even the entry of women journalists belonging to this age group as part of their job was also
likely to aggravate the situation. The samiti alleged that even though the Supreme Court has decided to hear the review and writ petitions on the issue on 13 November, the state government was intentionally ignoring the "mass movement" against the judgement and was trying to "hastily" enforce it using police force.

"In such a situation, the devotees are left with no other choice but to continue with the peaceful agitation," it said. Objecting to the samithi's appeal, the Network of Women in Media, India said it was 'unjustified' and 'unacceptable interference' in the functioning of the media and an 'unfair obstacle' in the way of journalists who happen to be women wishing to cover an important story of public interest. "We believe that the Samithi's stand amounts to depriving women journalists of their right to respond to the call of professional duty and responsibility. It also goes against the freedom of expression and right to information that are fundamental rights to which all citizens are entitled," it said.

Meanwhile, activist Rahul Easwar, president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena that is among the outfits spearheading the protests, in a video message said, "Like police, we are also fully prepared". Easwar, belonging to the Thazhamon family of Sabarimala thantris, was arrested twice last month in connection with the protests in and around Sabarimala against the government's decision to implement the court verdict and also for making certain remarks. He is out on bail.

Noting that the situation in Sabarimala was "explosive," Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran accused the CPM-led LDF government of 'failing' to handle it. Thousands of police personnel had been deployed in Sabarimala which was akin to "challenging and suppressing" the devotees, he alleged.

BJP leader MT Ramesh warned that any attempt by police to hinder devotees from visiting Sabarimala would lead to "serious repercussions." Police would not be allowed to inspect the 'irumudikettu' (offerings devotees carry for lord ayyappa), he said. So far, 3,731 people have been arrested and 545 cases registered in connection with last month's violence. BJP and various Hindu outfits are on a warpath against the Left-front government over its decision not to seek a review of the top court verdict.

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Updated Date: Nov 05, 2018 15:16:19 IST