Sabarimala temple opening: Prohibitory orders in place in and around Sabarimala
Over 12 hours after Sabarimala opened its doors to devotees including women of all age groups for the first time after a historic Supreme Court last month that permitted the entry, no woman from the "banned" age group of 10 to 50 years has made it to the hilltop temple. On day two, several outfits called for a day long shutdown amid ongoing protests. Prohibitory orders were put in place by the police in and around Sabarimala in a bid to control the tense situation. Heavy police security continue to be deployed along the route after they were outnumbered yesterday.
A woman journalist working for a foreign media outlet and her colleague, a foreign national, attempted the trek early this morning and made it halfway with police protection. The two, who claimed to not be devotees, had to however abort the trek after they were met with protesters. Yesterday, two women devotees who attempted the trek up to the shrine were forced to return following intimidation from angry protesters.
Even before the temple doors were open to devotees, visuals emerged of protests turning violent. Protesters heckled woman journalists, combed buses, stopped women from going near the temple and threw stones at police personnel. Protesters also checked buses manhandled women, turning them away from Nilakkal, the starting base camp. Over 50 protesters, including former Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan, were taken into custody by police who had resorted to lathicharge. Kerala Left-led government had called the attacks politically motivated violence.
Here are the highlights of the Sabarimala temple opening:
The centre has asked the Kerala government to ensure peace across the state. In an advisory, the Home Ministry said the maintenance of law and order, including providing security to women wishing to visit the temple, was the responsibility of the state government.
A woman journalist made a brave but vain attempt on Thursday to trek to Sabarimala temple while sporadic violence marked the strike called by Hindu right groups in Kerala over Wednesday's police action against those opposing entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.
The Sabarimla head priest Kandaru Rajeevaru has dismissed reports that the tantri family had planned to close down the Lord Ayyappa temple if young women entered it to offer prayers.
"We have never said that the temple will be closed if women of the traditionally barred age group enter there. It is our duty and responsibility to carry out the monthly poojas and other rituals. We will not break the custom," he said.
Pathanamthitta collector, PB Nooh to NDTV
"The situation is under control. All security arrangements in place"
"Any woman who wants to go up to the temple will be given protection. All arrangements have been made"
"Even for the woman journalist who came in the morning, we were providing her security all the way till the temple. She refuses to go up"
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today tweeted his response to the ongoing protests in Sabarimala condemning the attacks.
Here's what the chief minister tweeted:
"Sabarimala has a uniqueness that other temples lack; it allows entry for people of all faith. Sangh Parivar and RSS have always been intolerant of this fact. They have made many attempts to erase this distinction of Sabarimala."
"The role they played in eliminating the rituals performed at Sabarimala by Adivasi-Malayaran community is common knowledge. The present troubles must be seen in this light. The RSS backed attackers are obstructing believers and spreading terror."
"These attackers are motivated by casteist and feudal ideologies. Encouraging such movements will eventually lead to the banishment of backward classes from places like Sabarimala. All believers must condemn this attack on Sabarimala."
Special security arrangements were put in place at several locations including Pamba, Nilakkal and Erumeli, en route to the Sabarimala temple, located in Pathanamthitta district, officials were quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
Section 144 were imposed by the police in four places including Pamba, Sannidhanam to keep protests and violence at check.
- The state-wide shutdown called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi on Thursday saw huge response with near total effect with just a few private vehicles on road, news agency IANS reported.
- In parts of Kozhikode, Malappuram and in Thiruvananthapuram, protesters threw stones at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses following which their operation was suspended.
- Incidentally, state and central government offices, banks and educational institutions were closed not on account of the protests but in view of Mahanavami
- Shops and markets remained shut in most parts with poor attendance at IT parks in both Tiruvananthapuram and in Kochi.
- Railway commuters faced the brunt of the shutdown as taxis and public vehicles stayed off the streets
Sabarimala On Edge A Day After Violence, Women Stopped By Protesters
A day after protests and violence in Kerala against the entry of women of menstruating age at the famous Sabarimala temple, the state government has banned the gathering of more than five people in Sannidhanam, Pamba, Nilakkal, and Elavungal - the base camps from where devotees head to the hill-top shrine.
The state-wide shutdown that was initially called for 12 hours has been extended to 24 hours. The shutdown began on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday and will go till Wednesday midnight. The Kerala state bus service stopped its operations in the districts following the violence. A KSRTC bus was vandalised at Laka near Nilakkal base camp by protesters yesterday, news agency ANI reported. Local reports said that buses are operating normally in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.
The premise of the tradition that has been accepted by society and continuously followed for years together was not taken into consideration. The version of heads of religious denominations and faith of crores of devotees was not taken into account, says RSS chief Mohand Bhagwat on the Sabarimala issue.
State-wide shutdown in Kerala
A 12-hour state-wide shutdown has been called today that will begin at 12 noon. The shutdown was called by a group that calls itself the Sabarimala Protection Committee. Many shops are shut and vehicles are off the roads.
The state BJP has decided to support to the bandh, while Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala has said that the key issue in Sabarimala was "not one of gender equality."
The group that called for the shutdown said they will allow only male devotees into the Sabarimala temple.
Police yesterday escorted Madhavi and her family while she attempted to trek to Sabarimla temple on the day of its opening yesterday. She was forced to return after she was heckled by the protesters. Another woman, Libi CS, a journalist was forced to return midway after protesters prevented her entry beyond a point.
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Devotees, mostly male, queued up inside the Sabarimala temple ahead of its opening yesterday. No women devotees were allowed into the hilltop temple as protesters prevented their entry through the day.
Police wield batons against protesters who had turned violent at the Nilakkal Base Camp in Pathanamthitta district.
Priests opens the Sabarimala temple for the five-day monthly pooja in on Wednesday. The temple doors were open to all devotees including women of all age groups for the first time after the Supreme Court ruling that permitted entry of women between the age 10 to 50 years.
2 New York Times Woman Journalists attempt Sabarimala trek
A woman journalist working for a New York Times, along with her colleague, a foreign national, attempted the trek early this morning with police protection.
Just as they made it midway, they were met with protesters who threw stones. They had to abort the trek to the temple and return to Pamba, the last point before the trek up to Sabarimala.
The journalists had made it clear that they were not devotees.
Sabarimala Protests: Sabarimala Temple Opens After Day Of Protests, Women Stopped: 10 Points
Kerala's Sabarimala temple opened its doors to women of all ages on Wednesday evening after much protest, violence and the final imposition of prohibitory orders that bans large gatherings. Through the day, protesters had been trying to enforce the centuries-old bar on the entry of women of reproductive age in the temple, which was scrapped by the Supreme Court last month.
Reporters from several media organisations were attacked some evern beaten up with sticks, kicked and surrounded by a mob of protesters.
NDTV reporter Sneha Mary Koshy and cameraperson SP Babu were stopped from covering the protests midway through live telecasting. Their camera was snatched and they were asked to leave. The crew from CNN-News 18 and Aaj Tak was also attacked.
What happened on day 1 of Sabarimala temple opening?
Protesters prevented the entry of women beyond Pamba, the last stop before the last trek up to the hilltop temple
Protesters heckled women journalists, vandalised buses, media vehicles and threw stones at police personnel
Police had to use batons to disperse the crowds and manage the voilent protesters
While the gates were open to all devotees at 5 pm, no woman devotee was present at the gate
Two women who attempted the trek were also forced to return following intimidation from protesters
Protesters, including elderly women, blocked and screened vehicles for women of menstrual age and asked them to stop at Nilakkal, the first point up to the Sabarimala
Situation in and around Sabarimala continue to remain tense on day 2 of the Sabarimala temple opening. The temple doors were open to women of all age groups for the first time yesterday evening after the Supreme Court last month, lifted a ban on entry of women between the age 10 to 50 years.