Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala on Sunday witnessed mass protests against the state government’s move to implement the Supreme Court’s order which allowed women of all age groups to enter into the Sabarimala temple. Also Read - Ahmedabad Fire: Administrator of COVID-19 Hospital Arrested Over 'Negligence' After 8 Patients Died

Thousands of Lord Ayyappa devotees took to the streets in Kochi on Saturday. Holding placards bearing pictures of Lord Ayyappa and chanting his hymns, the protesters marched through the busy roads of Kochi, the state’s commercial hub, after launching the stir from the famed Shiva temple there. Also Read - Signs That Show You Are Emotionally Exhausted

The faithful, a large number of them women, urged both the Central and the state governments to intervene in the matter to protect the sanctity of the centuries-old rituals and traditions of the hill shrine. Also Read - 'Couldn't Resist'! Soha Ali Khan Congratulates Kareena Kapoor-Saif Ali Khan as They Expect Their Second Child

On Saturday, over 5,000 devotees of Lord Ayyappa from Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai Saturday held a protest at Azad Maidan demanding that the Kerala government issue an ordinance to protect age-old rituals of Sabarimala temple.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Police on Saturday registered a case against actor Kollam Thulasi for saying that “women who dare to enter Sabarimala temple should be torn into two pieces”.

Thulasi had contested as a BJP candidate in the 2016 Assembly elections. The FIR against him was filed by Ratheesan, a local leader of DYFI, the youth wing of the CPI(M).

The actor was booked under Sections 295A (outraging religious feelings), 298 (uttering words with intention to wound religious sentiments), 354A (making sexually coloured remarks) of the IPC.

Thulasi on Saturday tendered an apology. “I should not have made those statements. I reacted in such a manner due to my extreme devotion. I am withdrawing that statement and offering an apology if my words have hurt anyone. I got carried away by the enthusiasm of mothers who had taken part in that prayer meeting. My words only reflected the pain of a devotee of Ayyappa,’’ he said, according to The Indian Express.

On the other hand, the Kerala unit of the Shiv Sena warned that their women activists will commit suicide if any young woman tries to enter the shrine.

A member of the Shiv Sena Kerala unit, Peringammala Aji told ANI that their women squad will gather near the Pamba River on October 17 and 18 as part of their so-called suicide group.

“Our women activists will gather near the Pamba River on October 17 and 18 as part of a suicide group. When any young woman tries to enter Sabarimala, our activists will commit suicide,” Aji said.

On October 1, the Shiv Sena had staged a statewide strike for 12 hours in Kerala after the Supreme Court directed lifting restrictions on the entry of women in the Sabarimala Temple.

While pronouncing the order on September 28, the former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said that the ban on women from entering the temple violated the constitutional principles of the country. He further said that the rights of women should be no lesser than their male counterparts, and devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination.

While many, including the Kerala state government, welcomed the decision, a large number of devotees have organised protests, demanding to retain the age-old tradition.

The Sabarimala temple, located in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, is dedicated to the Hindu deity Ayyappan. The temple management considers the deity to be eternal celibate which debarred women from entering the temple.