Men Snatched Our Holy Offering Kits, Say Women Devotees At Sabarimala

Protests escalated as eleven women devotees wait at Pamba to enter the Sabarimala shrine

Men Snatched Our Holy Offering Kits, Say Women Devotees At Sabarimala

Protesting devotees surround women trying to enter Sabarimala for darshan

Pamba, Kerala:

As tension gripped Pamba at the foothills of the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, the women's group waiting to enter the shrine told NDTV that protesting devotees "snatched" their 'irumudi' or offerings kit that devotees carry on their heads. These women - in their menstrual age, are determined for darshan - and say, "what is the guarantee that we would live to above 50, to worship here later?"

Protests at Sabarimala have been increasing since early morning, when the group of 11 women reached Pamba at about 3 am.

"We are Lord Ayyappa's sisters...we are determined to pray at Sabarimala and women have equal rights. The priest at Pamba refused to give us irumudi and the men snatched our irumudi kit," U Thilagavathi, a young woman devotee told NDTV.

"We have observed the rituals including the fast and the police have promised to take us to Sabarimala," Ms Thilagavathi said, adding that more women are on their way.

The administration today extended the ban on gathering of large groups between Elavungal and Sannidanam, till till 27th December.

Meanwhile the Travancore Devaswom Board President A Padmakumar told NDTV that the board "has not been officially informed about anything." 

"Let the police take the required decision and we will see," Mr Padmakumar said.

The Kerala high court has appointed a three-member committee including two judges, to observe the activities at Sabarimala and the government will implement the decision the committee takes, said Devaswom Minister, Kadakampally Surendran.

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