Sabarimala temple updates: Security stepped up in Pamba, Nilakkal as two outfits call for 24-hr shutdown from midnight

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Sabarimala temple updates: Security stepped up in Pamba, Nilakkal as two outfits call for 24-hr shutdown from midnight
  • 18:49 (IST)

    700 additional police personnel deployed in Pamba, Nilakkal
    As two outfits called for 24-hour shutdown in state, DGP Lonknath Behera said 700 additional police personnel had already been deployed in Pamba and Nilakkal, the base camps of Sabarimala pilgrimage, to maintain law and order and ensure the safety of devotees proceeding to the temple.
     
    "At least 700 armed police personnel, 100 of them women, are already placed in various locations. A team of commandos will also be deployed soon," he said.
    Behera also said anyone who blocks vehicles in the name of hartal would be severely dealt with.
     
    PTI

  • 18:19 (IST)

    Kerala minister blames RSS-BJP for attacks on devotees

    Kerala minister EP Jayarajan blamed RSS for the attacks on devotees. "RSS criminals hid in forests and attacked the Ayappa devotees. Ten media personnel, five devotees and 15 policemen were attacked," he said.

    He added: "RSS-BJP is behind all of this. Supreme Court rule applies to all, the govt is just following and implementing it."

  • 18:05 (IST)

    AIDWA condemns 'efforts of BJP-RSS backed right wing groups' to create communal frenzy

    The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said in a statement that it condemned the efforts of" BJP-RSS backed right wing groups to create a communal frenzy" against the implementation of the orders of the Supreme Court in the Sabarimala case. "AIDWA stands strongly against the political parties like the BJP and the Congress and reactionary forces like the RSS that are trying to subvert the progressive Sabarimala judgment. It supports the government’s resolve to implement the judgement and get into a dialogue with women to remove their misconceptions," it said.

  • 17:58 (IST)

    Congress leader says party workers not engaged in hooliganism

    Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala denied that his party was involved in violence over the Sabarimala issue. "Congress is not attacking anybody, and definitely the attack on journalists is not tolerable. Those protesting there are BJP and RSS people. Nowhere are Congress people engaged in this kind of hooliganism or vandalism," he said.

  • 17:50 (IST)

    Two outfits call for shutdown

    Right wing outfit, 'Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad' led by Pravin Togadia and the 'Sabarimala Samrakshana Samithi', an outfit of devotees, have called a 24-hour-long hartal starting midnight.
     
    The outfits are protesting the CPM-led LDF government's decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all age groups to enter the hill shrine.
     
    Special security arrangements and patrolling have been put in place in various locations including Pamba, Nilackal, Erumeli, Vandiperiyar en route to the Sabarimala temple, located in the central district of Pathanamthitta.
     
    PTI

  • 17:47 (IST)

    Reporter slapped by protesters for shooting video

    In a tweet, ANI said that one of their reporters Karam Ingerlose was slapped by protesters. "His phone was snatched and broken into pieces by them when he was shooting a video in Erumely. The protesters asked him to apologise for shooting the video and let him go only after he apologised," it said.

  • 17:43 (IST)

    NCW directs DGP, Kerala Police chief to provide security to women devotees

    In a statement, the National Commission for Women said that it has directed the DGP and Kerala Police chief to provide sufficient security to all women devotees of Sabarimala temple and women media personnel. "Considering the gravity of the matter, the commission has also directed him take appropriate stringent action against people who are responsible for the attacks and a detailed action taken report may be intimated to NCW at the earliest," it said.

  • Watch: Earlier visuals from Pampa before the opening of gates

  • Section 144 imposed in four areas

    Section 144 has been imposed in 4 areas: Nilakkal, Pampa, Elavunkal and Sannidhanam. The radius of the prohibitory orders is 30 kilometres from the temple. 

  • Watch: Police vandalise vehicles in Nilakkal

    In the video, several police personnel can be seen taking helmets of devotees from their bikes, and canning 'innocent' bystanders.

  • 17:21 (IST)

    Historic march stalled as women blocked from crossing Pamba

    CNN-News18 reported that no women have been allowed to cross the Pamba base camp. The gates will be opened till 10.30 on Wednesday and will reopen at 5am for the next five days.

  • Watch: Sabarimala shrine opens for devotees

  • 17:00 (IST)

    Sabarimala temple gates opens to devotees

  • 16:53 (IST)

    Watch: Situation tense outside temple as gates set to open

  • 16:43 (IST)

    Stop attacks on journalists doing their job, says NWMI 

    In a statement, Network of Women in Media, India, denounced the attack on women journalists ahead of Sabarimala temple opening.

    "We demand that the chief minister and government of Kerala take immediate action against the agitators who let violent assailants loose on journalists, obstructing them from doing their duty. It is incumbent on the government to create a secure environment for journalists to report from Pamba and nearby areas on an issue that is of interest and concern to the public. The government must immediately ensure the safety of journalists and assure the media that the lives of reporters are not in danger," it said.

  • Sabarimala temple under siege

    Devotees are sitting on protest, laying siege to the 18 holy steps and the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala shrine.

  • Police stopping mediapersons from approaching Nilakkal camp

    I am about 200 metres away from the Nilakkal base camp. We are unable to move further as the police are saying that it is not safe to go there. On our way, we saw some protesters clashing with the policeman. I could see several vehicles with smashed window panes.

    We have already heard about some of the devotees, one from Andhra Pradesh, heading back because of intimidation. We can see no women devotees seen approaching the temple.

  • 16:14 (IST)

    NCW holds meeting over attack on scribes 

    A meeting is underway at the National Commission for Women office for further steps to be taken over reports of attack on journalists ahead of the opening of Sabarimala temple.

  • 16:09 (IST)

    Watch: Police lathi-charge, clash with protesters at Nilakkal 

  • 16:08 (IST)

    At least 2 female journalists injured

    Two female reporters, working for Republic TV and Aaj Tak, were injured when the protesters turned their ire on the media contingent in Nilakkal

    Police tried to calm the protesters but they pelted stones on them, prompting the lathi-charge. This further enraged the protesters, who smashed the window panes of a police vehicle which was carrying away the injured female journalists.

    The protesters chased out another female journalist, working for a news portal, from a bus headed to the temple town.

    IANS

  • 16:00 (IST)

    Congress, BJP join protest by devotees in Pamba and Nilakkal

    As agitating devotees took to the streets in large numbers over the Sabarimala issue, the Opposition BJP and Congress on Wednesday joined their stir at Pamba and Nilakkal, the entry points to the hill shrine.

    The police evicted members of a tantri (head priest) family, including elderly women, and the Pandalam royals who were protesting in Pamba, reciting Ayyappa 'mantras'.

    After their eviction, a group of BJP leaders began the 'namajapa' (prayer) meet at the same venue. BJP state general secretaries, K Surendran, MT Ramesh and Shobha Surendran, were among those who led the prayer meet.

    Click here to read more

  • Police resorts to lathi charge in Nilakkal

    As situation turned volatile in Nilakkal, a clash broke out between policemen and protesters after the protesters resort to stone pelting. The Kerala Police have resorted to lathi charge.

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Kerala minister accuses protesters of playing 'dirty politics'

    Speaking on the situation on the route toward Sabarimala temple, Kerala minister KK Shailaja said, "I think it is intentional; it's dirty politics they (protesters) are playing. We can't say if they are actual devotees. Supreme Court's order is Constitutional and government is bound to implement it."

  • 15:33 (IST)

    NCW takes suo motu cognizance of attack on one reporter

    National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted that they had taken cognisance of the attack on car of CNN-News18 journalist.

    Some women journalists had faced the ire of a section of protesters agitating against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age into the Sabarimala temple and their vehicles attacked in Nilakkal.

  • 15:31 (IST)

    Women fighting against women's rights surprise BJP MP Uday Raj

    BJP MP Udit Raj says that he is surprised to see that women themselves are stopping others from going to the shrine. "I have seen the fight for equality, not for slavery and inequality. On one hand, fight against atrocities by men is going on in the nation and on the other hand, women are fighting against their own freedom & rights. It has happened for the first time in the world, it's amusing - 'Make me a slave, treat me unequally, we're inferior to men' - women are stopping women. What's the point in this. I don't know what's happening in this nation," he said, adding that it was his personal opinion.

    This notwithstanding the fact that BJP is the main political party spearheading the Sabarimala protests in the state of Kerala. The party's ideological wing RSS is also participating in the protests against entry of women to the Sabarimala shrine. 

  • 15:11 (IST)

    Watch: Sabarimala protesters attack journalist Pooja Prasanna's car in Pathanamthitta 

  • 15:10 (IST)

    Showdown near Sabarimala, two women turned back

    Traditionalists opposed to the entry of women in the 10-50 age group to the Sabarimala temple despite a Supreme Court ruling took on the Kerala government on Wednesday, forcibly turning back stray women visiting the shrine despite police assurances that no one will be prevented from taking part in the pilgrimage.

    The police meanwhile arrested members of the Pandalam Royal and Sabarimala temple Tantri families, including women, taking part in a protest. 

  • 15:03 (IST)

    Rahul Easwar, activist and member of tantri's family detained by Kerala Police

    Activist Rahul Easwar, spearheading the protest against women's entry to Sabarimala, was detained by Kerala Police on Wednesday. Easwar is the grandson of the former high priest of the Sabarimala Shrine. 

  • 14:58 (IST)

    Govt trying to make Sabarimala a war zone: BJP leader MT Ramesh
     

    Talking to reporters at Sannidhanam, temple tantri Kandaru Rajeevaru said the centuries-old rituals and traditions of the Lord Ayyappa shrine should be protected. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, MT Ramesh said the government and police were trying to make Sabarimala a "war zone". "It is important to protect the sanctity of the Lord Ayyappa Temple. The government is not taking into consideration the sentiments of Ayyappa devotees who are coming in large (numbers) to Nilakkal and Pamba," he told reporters in Pamba.

    PTI

  • 14:56 (IST)

    Libi CS, who tried to enter shrine as devotee, faces backlash after conceding she does not believe in Ayyappa

    A young woman named Libi CS faced angry opposition at the Pathanamthitta new bus stand on Thursday morning, when she arrived there from Cherthala in order to travel to Sabarimala temple in Pamba. 

    She came dressed in the traditional dress robes as a devotee, to try and enter the shrine following the Supreme Court order. However, she faced backlash from protesters owing to a social media post, where she revealed that she was an atheist and wanted to enter the shrine as a mark of protest. 

    Liby, who got down at the Pathanamthitta bus stand and was to board a bus to Nilackal, faced angry devotees who booed her.

  • 14:35 (IST)

    Kerala minister accuses RSS and BJP of double-standard

    Kerala minister VS Sunil accused the RSS and BJP of talking double standards on the Sabarimala issue. "On one hand, five advocates associated with the BJP gave petition in Supreme Court over entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple, and on the other hand, the BJP is leading a fight against the verdict. Now it is trying to relate the issue to law and order situation," he said, reported news agency ANI 

  • 14:34 (IST)

    Trouble brews in Nilakkal as protesters shift base away from Pampa

    The centrepoint of Sabarimala protests, Pampa district is relatively calm now as only a handful of protesters are seen near the sannidhanam. Even the BJP leaders leading the charge of protests are conspicuous with their absence. Members of the high priest's family are also nowhere to be seen there. 

    Meanwhile, a large number of protesters have instead started gathering in Nilakkal. The protesters have attacked several media vehicles and reporters, while several others are roaming the streets with chants of Lord Ayyappa slogans. 

  • 14:25 (IST)

    'Won't let impure women enter our shrine', say tribal devotees of Lord Ayyappa

    The tribals and Dalits believe that if the women in this particular age-group climbed the hill violating the custom would bring a bad omen for them. 
     
     
    "Lord Ayyappa is our God. Restrictions imposed on women of a certain age group from entering the shrine is part of our custom. Following the custom is very important for worshipping at the Lord Ayyappa temple situated in the dense forests. It should not be violated. Impure women should not be allowed in the  Sabarimala temple," said Narayanan, participating in the Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti's agitation.
     
     
    58-year old tribal woman Omana reiterates narayanan's sentiments, "We will not let any impure woman enter into poonkavanam -- sacred forests of Lord Ayyappa."

  • 14:19 (IST)

    CPI leader D Raja blames attack on journalist on BJP-RSS, says right-wing goons creating law and order problem 

    D Raja blamed the BJP and RSS for the attack on journalists, while claiming that the Kerala government was discharging its duties properly. Raja, who is part of the CPI, an ally in the state government said, that the police personnel were outnumbered by the mob and it is the BJP and RSS people who are leading the protests. 

  • 14:10 (IST)

    'Gandhian protests' turn violent as protesters beat up women journalist, vandalise media vehicles

    Sabarimala traditionalists vowing to undertake a Gandhian protest against Supreme Court's order allowing women entry into the shrine, turned violent on Wednesday and attacked three women journalists.

    Anti-women Sabarimala protesters attacked two reporters from The News Minute and Republic TV in Pamba and Nilakkal. TNM reporter Saritha was on a KSRTC bus that was full of Sabarimala devotees when a mob of 20 men surrounded the bus and tried to get her out. Another journalist, Republic TV's south India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna, was attacked by protesters demonstrating against the entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

  • 13:58 (IST)

    In PHOTOS: Devotees take holy dip in Pampa river

    Devotees take holy bath in River Pampa before starting pilgrimage to Sabarimala Temple Security is heightened in #Kerala as Ayyappa shrine opens for the first time since the SC verdict that allows women of all ages inside the premises.

    Images by TK Devasia

  • 13:52 (IST)

    RECAP: Highlights of anti-women protests at Sabarimala 

    Here's a quick recap of all the developments in and around Pamba and Nilakkal: 

    • Police removed makeshift tents, detained protesters
    • Women protesters checked vehicles before allowing them travel to Nilakkal
    • Congress, BJP held separate sit-ins, fasts at Pampa, Nilakkal
    • No one would be allowed to block pilgrims, said Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran
    • Protesters disallow women of menstruating age from climbing the hill - one from Andhra, one from Alapuzha
    • Congress, BJP and CPM accuse each other for the state of affairs in Sabarimala
    • Travancore Devaswom Board's bid to bring consensus among tantri, Pandalam Palace and government fails again.

  • 13:50 (IST)

    'Protesters have no right to attack anyone, devotee or reporter'

    Amid allegations that the reporters who were attacked had no plans to enter the temple, Dhanya clarified saying that they were many kilometres away from Pamba and wore coloured clothes so that people would know that they are not devotees. "That apart, protesters have no right to attack anyone, devotee or reporter," Dhanya added

  • 13:45 (IST)

    Senior journalist reacts to attack against women and reporters at Sabarimala 

  • 13:43 (IST)

    30 arrested so far in Pamba: Police 

    A total of  30 people have been arrested in Pamba since Tuesday. According to ANI, nine people were arrested on Tuesday and and 21 on Wednesday, in connection with protests against entry of women in age group 10-50 to Sabarimala Temple. Two of them have got bail.

  • 13:30 (IST)

    TNM editor slams Kerala police and protesters for attack on reporters

    Editor of The News Minute Dhanya Rajendran, in a series of tweets, slammed agitators for assaulting reporters who "were doing their job". "Then police gave her protection. While she was being taken to the station, a man kicked on her spine. Then many clicked her pics and videos. They said they will circulate it and make sure she never comes there again," Dhanya tweeted. 

    "Saritha and Pooja Prasanna were in Nilakkal, not even near the temple. Is the road leading to Sabarimala the private property of protesters? A woman threatened to throw stones and bottles at Saritha." Questioning the Kerala police's inaction, Dhanya said, "Why did the Kerala police not anticipate this protest? Why is the Congress also protesting at Nilakkal?"

  • Despite police assuring security, Andhra woman, scared of anti-women protests, decides not to enter Sabarimala 

    Forty-five-year-old woman, who was told to go back, told Firstpost that the anti-women protests at Sabarimala were overwhelming. She decided not to climb up to the shrine after the protest even after the police assured security. She is now at Pampa base camp.

  • 13:10 (IST)

    Republic TV's Pooja Prasanna attacked by angry mob at Pamba

    Another journalist, Republic TV's south India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna, was attacked by protesters demonstrating against the entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. The incident took place in the town of Nilakkal located in Pathanamthitta district while the TV crew was on its way to the Pamba base camp. This incident took place despite police protection present at the spot.

    Visuals put out by the news channel show around 50 to 60 people surrounding the car the reporter and the channel crew was travelling in, chanting Ayyappa slogans, the report said. 

  • 13:09 (IST)

    Anti-women Sabarimala protesters attack The News Minute's reporter Saritha 

    Anti-women Sabarimala protesters attacked The News Minute's reporter Saritha S Balan in Pamba. Saritha was on a KSRTC bus that was full of Sabarimala devotees when a mob of 20 men surrounded the bus and tried to get her out. Saritha was on the bus to cover the Sabarimala protests, when it was 'inspected' by Karma Samithi. Saritha was intimidated by the mob and violently physically attacked and verbally abused. 

    As the police tried to give a protective ring to Saritha to get her out of the bus, the mob physically attacked her, and one of them in fact kicked her on her spine.

  • BJP will protest till it gets justice, say Kerala party leaders

    The Bharatiya Janata Party said that the party will continue the protest till "we get justice."

    "We are also looking at the possibility of making this a pan India protest by hoping to bring believers and sanyasis from across India to sabarimala. If the state government uses police force to tackle peaceful protestors the repercussions will be huge," said BJP state unit president PS Sreedharan Pillai. 

  • Kerala govt showed haste in implementing SC verdict in Hindu temple, says BJP Shobha Surendran 

    Shobha Surendran said that the government had shown haste in implementint g the SC verdict because it was a Hindu temple. She said that a Supreme Court  verdict on a church has not been implemented so far. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan thinks he can do anything with Hindus. We will not allow him this in Sabarimala case. BJP  will stand firmly behind the believers to protect their faith

  • 12:51 (IST)

    Hindus forced out on streets because of new decisions invading faith, says protester

    A woman sitting on protest against the Supreme Court verdict, told CNN-news18 that the courts do not understand the matters of faith. She said that because of these new decisions Hindus' freedom to pray is being eroded and they are  being forced out on the streets to protect their faith. 

  • 12:37 (IST)

    Protesters touch Andhra woman's feet for deciding not to enter temple

    About to become the first woman under 50 years of age to enter Sabarimala, Madhavi was not allowed to enter the temple. According to TV reports, once the woman decided against entering the temple, protesters allegedly came with folded hands and touched her feet for her decision. 

  • 12:34 (IST)

    Vijayan govt hurting religious sentiments of people: BJP 

    BJP leaders K Surendran, Shoba Surendran and MT Ramesh have taken over protest at Pampa, along with party workers. Surendran accused the state government of hurting religious sentiments of people.

    Ramesh pledged his support to agitation and said that would take it over from Thursday. The BJP's presence will be there in Nilakkal and Pampa till the temple remains open, said Ramesh. 

  • Another girl from Cherthala told to go back

    An girl from Cherthala in Alappuzha district was stopped at Pathanamthitta bus stand as she tried to board a bus to Pampa. The girl was later taken by the police to the station. Police have taken at least 50 people in custody in connection with the incident.

    The girl claimed that she had come Pathanamthitta to go to Sabarimala. 

Sabarimala temple LIVE updates: Right wing outfit, 'Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad' led by Pravin Togadia and the 'Sabarimala Samrakshana Samithi', an outfit of devotees, have called a 24-hour-long hartal starting midnight. Meanwhile, Kerala minister EP Jayarajan blamed RSS for the attacks on devotees. "RSS criminals hid in forests and attacked the Ayappa devotees. Ten media personnel, five devotees and 15 policemen were attacked," he said.

Section 144 has been imposed in 4 areas: Nilakkal, Pampa, Elavunkal and Sannidhanam. The radius of the prohibitory orders is 30 kilometres from the temple.

The temple gates were opened for devotees on Wednesday amid heavy security deployment as women devotees chose to keep away following various attempts by protestors to intimidate them.

Ahead of the opening of the temple at 5 pm, devotees are sitting on protest, laying siege to the 18 holy steps and the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala shrine.

As situation turned volatile in Nilakkal, the Kerala Police resorted to lathi-charge on protesters. Meanwhile, the NCW took suo motu cognisance of attack on a woman journalist.

CPI leader D Raja blamed the BJP and RSS for the attack on journalists, while claiming that the Kerala government was discharging its duties properly. Raja said that the police personnel were outnumbered by the mob and it is the BJP and RSS people who are leading the protests.

Activist Rahul Easwar, spearheading the protest against women's entry to Sabarimala, was detained by Kerala Police on Wednesday. Easwar is the grandson of the former high priest of the Sabarimala Shrine.

The tribals and Dalits believe that if the women in this particular age-group climbed the hill violating the custom would bring a bad omen for them. A 58-year old tribal woman Omana said, "We will not let any impure woman enter into poonkavanam -- sacred forests of Lord Ayyappa."

Sabarimala traditionalists vowing to undertake a Gandhian protest against Supreme Court's order allowing women entry into the shrine, turned violent on Wednesday and attacked three women journalists.

Anti-women Sabarimala protesters attacked two reporters from The News Minute and Republic TV in Pamba and Nilakkal. TNM reporter Saritha was on a KSRTC bus that was full of Sabarimala devotees when a mob of 20 men surrounded the bus and tried to get her out. Another journalist, Republic TV's south India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna, was attacked by protesters demonstrating against the entry of women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

The 45-year-old woman, who was told to go back, told Firstpost that the anti-women protests at Sabarimala were overwhelming. She decided not to climb up to the shrine after the protest even after the police assured security. She is now at Pampa base camp.

The Bharatiya Janata Party said that the party will continue the protest till "we get justice." "We are also looking at the possibility of making this a pan India protest by hoping to bring believers and sanyasis from across India to Sabarimala. If the state government uses police force to tackle peaceful protestors the repercussions will be huge," said BJP state unit president PS Sreedharan Pillai.

Forty-five-year-old Madhavi, a resident of Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh, who reached Pampa to go to Sabarimala was stopped by protestors near the base camp. According to TV reports, once the woman decided against entering the temple, protesters allegedly came with folded hands and touched her feet for her decision.  An girl from Cherthala in Alappuzha district was stopped at Pathanamthitta bus stand as she tried to board a bus to Pampa.

At least, 50 protesters were detained by kerala police at the Pampa base camp. Reports also said that senior BJP and Congress leaders have converged at Pampa and Nilakkal to protest against the Supreme Court order which allowed women to enter the Sabarimala temple.

According to latest reports, wife of temple tantri and former Travancore Devaswom Board president were taken into police custody from Pampa base camp. The duo were allegedly protesting against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women, of all ages, to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Congress State working president, K Sudhakaran, has reached Nilackal. Sudhakaran blamed both the Union and state governments, the BJP as well as the Left parties, for the messy state of affairs at Sabarimala. He said Congress stands firm with the Ayyappa devotees but urges no one should be prevented from worshipping.

BJP MP Udit Raj said that he was surprised to see that women themselves are stopping others from going to the shrine. "I have seen the fight for equality, not for slavery and inequality. On one hand, fight against atrocities by men is going on in the nation and on the other hand, women are fighting against their own freedom and rights. It has happened for the first time in the world, it's amusing - 'Make me a slave, treat me unequally, we're inferior to men' - women are stopping women. What's the point in this. I don't know what's happening in this nation," he said, adding that it was his personal opinion.

BJP workers, led by party leader Shobha Surendran protested the police action against devotees who stopped women from entering Pamba by chanting Ayyappo Swami Saranam at Nilakkal.

Surendran warned that they will not allow the police to touch the devotees. "If the government is trying to suppress the protests using police, the BJP will stand with the devotees," she said referring to the police action on the protestors at Nilakkal.

As tension prevailed in the districts falling in vicinity of the Sabarimala shrine, both BJP and Congress are trying to gain political points in the face of the ongoing protests.

While the BJP has openly come out in support of orthodox devotees protesting against the entry of women, the Congress said its hunger strike will be simply in solidarity with the protesters, rather than to oppose women's entry.

The Sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyappa shrine will be opened for Thulam rituals at 5 pm today.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has said that it will hold a protest meet at Pathanamthitta district, one of the entry points to reach Sabarimala, at around 10.30 am. Party's state unit chief Sreedharan Pillai will hold a hunger strike in Pathanamthitta district.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has said that it will hold a protest meet at Pathanamthitta district, one of the entry points to reach Sabarimala, at around 10.30 am. Meanwhile, the Kerala Police has said that no attempts to threaten law and order, or to stop women devotees from entering the shrine will not be tolerated.

The Kerala Police has arrested 16 people in all so far since yesterday's protest. Six persons who resisted the police attempt to evacuate the protestors have been arrested by police today, whereas 10 people were arrested last night in connection with the attack on a woman from Tamil Nadu.

The Kerala Police said that there was strong resistance to the police action when the protesters were evacuated. The Superintendent of Police said that no protesters will be allowed to gather at Nilakal and Pampa, the base camps of the Sabarimala shrine, as they are heavy security zones. Nobody will be allowed to block roads

Lord Ayyappa devotees protesting the Supreme Court judgment in south Kerala unequivocally claim that the apex court failed to understand the judgments attached to the shrine, and a review petition should be filed. However, some went to the length of giving bizarre reasons for opposing women's entry to the shrine, with one person claiming it will turn the shrine into a 'centre for prostitution.' Another devotee saw a 'conspiracy' to inject European culture into the beliefs of the local people.

The Sabarimala Achara Samranshana Samithi activists who were sitting on satgraha for last one week have been removed from Nilakkal. The activists had yesterday stopped vehicles and forced women to get down. Superintendent of Police, T Narayanan said nobody will be allowed to prevent women from going to Sabarimala.

Declaring that the Kerala government will protect the rights of all Sabarimala devotees, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday accused the BJP and Congress of trying to destroy the state's secular fabric by politicising the issue.

Addressing a meeting organised by the CPI-M here, Vijayan went hammer and tongs against both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"The Congress has joined the BJP in trying to drive a wedge between the devotees and the government and they are trying to break the secular tradition of our state," he said.

On Tuesday morning, after presiding over a cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister vowed to protect the rights of the devotees when it was pointed out that vehicles on way to Sabarimla were being checked by those opposed to the Supreme Court ruling also allowing women in the 10-50 age group to enter the famed temple.

Two women journalists were stopped from proceeding to the temple town.

The protesters had gathered at Nilakal, about 20 km from the foothills of the temple, located at Pampa.

"Such a thing cannot be accepted. No one can take law into their hands. The government will ensure that nothing of that sort happens. Those who want to pray cannot be stopped," said Vijayan.

"We have already made this very clear that we will abide by whatever the apex court verdict is. Now that the verdict has come, we will implement it."

Congress President Mulapally Ramachandran on Tuesday declared that the party won't object to any woman coming to the temple but wished that this does not happen.

"The Vijayan government is trying to make the Sabarimala issue into a conflict zone. The BJP is also trying to make this into another 'Ayodhya' issue but they are going to fail badly. The need of the hour is for the Centre to come out with an ordinance," said Ramachandran.

State BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai expressed full support to the protesting believers.

"Sabarimala temple has its particular set of traditions and culture. We will fully support all those who want the traditions to be kept like that and we will be with them," said Pillai.

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

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

The protesters are said to be mainly locals and others who have arrived from nearby areas.

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), the custodian of the temple, on Tuesday met the Pandalam royal family, representatives of the Sabarimala Tantri family and other Hindu organisations to see how best the controversy can be resolved but the deadlock continued.

"We demanded that the TDB should file a review petition today itself, which they said was not possible. So we felt that there was no reason to go ahead with the meeting," said Sasikumar Varma, a member of the Pandalam royal family.

TDB President A. Padmakumar told the media that they were willing to undertake more talks and all issues would be discussed at a meeting on October 19.


Updated Date: Oct 17, 2018 20:23 PM

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