New Delhi: As the Sabarimala temple reopened its door on Monday, foolproof security has been made by police to avoid any untoward incident. The shrine will open at 5 pm today for the ‘Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal’ special puja (prayers) slated for the next day, marking the birthday of last king of Travancore Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, and close at 10 pm. Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru and chief priest Unnikrishnan Namboodiri will jointly open the temple doors and light the lamp at the ‘Sreekovil’ (sanctum sanctorum).
To ensure smooth ‘darshan’, nearly 2,300 personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women, have been deployed and prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPc banning assembly of four or more people have been imposed in Sabarimala and nearby areas including Pamba, Nilakkal, Elavungal, and Sannidhanam.
Police said that around 30 women police personnel in the rank of circle inspector and sub-inspector and above the age of 50 would be deployed at ‘Sannidhanam’ (temple complex) for security, if needed.
Notably, this is the second time the hill temple will open for ‘darshan’ after the Supreme Court allowed entry of women of all age groups into it. (Also Read: SC Refuses Urgent Hearing in Sabarimala Row Plea; Says Temple Can Open For 24 Hrs on Nov 5-6)
Earlier on Sunday, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a platform of right-wing outfits, including VHP had appealed to media houses not to depute women journalists in the menstrual age group to cover the developments in Sabarimala. The samiti alleged that even though the Supreme Court has decided to hear the review and writ petitions on the issue on November 13, the state government was intentionally ignoring the “mass movement” against the judgment and was trying to “hastily” enforce it using police force.
“In such a situation, the devotees are left with no other choice but to continue with the peaceful agitation,” it said. Activist Rahul Easwar, president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena that is among the outfits spearheading the protests, in a video message said, “Like police, we are also fully prepared”.
The temple complex and nearby areas last month witnessed violent protests by Ayyappa devotees against the entry of young women. At least 12 women had made a vain attempt to reach the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, a celibate, after the Supreme Court permitted women in the 10-50 age group to offer prayers there.
Earlier on October 31, the Supreme Court had refused an early hearing to review petitions on the Sabarimala Temple issue. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said the temple will open for 24 hours on November 5-6 and that court had already fixed the matter for hearing after November 11, reported ANI. The pleas, at least 19 in number, have been filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Malayali Sangh among others.
The Supreme Court, on September 28, had thrown open the doors of the ancient temple. It said keeping out women in the age group of 10-50 years was wrong and went against their basic rights. The top court’s verdict had come 4:1 in favour of women.