Three days after the hill-shrine Sabarimala opened its doors to the public, devotees continued to lay seige to the holy hill on yesterday - with hundreds of traditionalists blocking three women from entering the Sabarimala temple for a third day, vandalising vehicles in open defiance of the police and threatening to force back any woman who dares visit the temple.
A Supreme Court decision to end a nearly three-decade-old ban on women of "menstruating age" -- those between 10 and 50 years -- from visiting has sparked violent demonstrations on the roads leading to the complex. On Friday, journalist Kavitha Jakkal and activist Rehana Fatima were just 500 metres away from the final 18 golden steps leading to the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala when they had to beat a retreat amid threats to close down the temple. Another woman, Mary Sweety had also reached Pamba to visit temple, but was refused protection and sent back by Police. The Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) which manages the temple has it would file a detailed report on the situation to the Supreme Court.
Here are the Highlights of the Sabarimala temple opening:
- Journalist Kavitha Jakkal and activist Rehana Fatima were just 500 metres from the final 18 golden steps leading to the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala when they had to beat a retreat. A third woman, Mary Sweety, did not even make it that far as the police told her they would not be able to give her security, that she was on her own.
- The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) announced that it would ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its verdict.
- The centre asked the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to tighten security and monitor the dissemination of "adverse" messages through the social media.
A religious stricture banning women between 10 and 50 years from entering the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala has always raised eyebrows in the past, but never did it spark violent protests that shocked an entire nation.