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

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.

FP Staff October 17, 2018 20:10:35 IST
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Sabarimala temple updates: Security stepped up in Pamba, Nilakkal as two outfits call for 24-hr shutdown from midnight

Highlights

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.

10:26 (ist)

Sabarimala face-off fight between Renaissance and Obscurantism, says Subramanian Swamy

"Supreme Court has made a decision, but now you are saying that it's our tradition. Triple Talaq is also a tradition in that way, everybody was applauding when it was abolished. The same Hindus have come on the streets now," Subramanian Swamy told ANI

He also added, "It's a fight between Hindu Renaissance  and Obscurantism. Renaissance says all Hindus are equal and caste system should be abolished. because no Brahman today is only intellectual, they're in cinema,business as well. Where is it written that caste is from birth? Shastras can be amended."

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Oct 17, 2018 - 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

Oct 17, 2018 - 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."

Oct 17, 2018 - 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.

Oct 17, 2018 - 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.

Oct 17, 2018 - 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

Oct 17, 2018 - 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.

Oct 17, 2018 - 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.

Oct 17, 2018 - 17:36 (IST)

Watch: Earlier visuals from Pampa before the opening of gates

Oct 17, 2018 - 17:33 (IST)

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. 

Oct 17, 2018 - 17:27 (IST)

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.

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.

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