Thiruvananthapuram: A bunch of petitioners on Friday appealed in Kerala High Court and demanded two days in a week reserved for the entry of women devotees in Sabarimala shrine. Meanwhile, Kerala Government also filed an affidavit in the High Court in connection with the incidents of violence that have been taking place outside the Lord Ayyappa’s shrine. The affidavit clarified that police were not involved in any sort of provocation, “only criminals who created issues in Sabarimala were arrested.”Also Read - Go For Online Shopping, Avoid Travel: Centre Issues COVID Advisory to States Ahead of Festivals
The state government also made it clear in the court that the base camp has been shifted to Nilakkal only due to lack of facilities, while adding, “it has no connection with the Supreme Court verdict.” Also Read - Kochi Metro Rail Limited to Give 50% Concession to Passengers During Non-Peaky Hours
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On November 22, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met Governor P. Sathasivam and pledged to improve amenities for the pilgrims visiting the Sabarimala temple, as the two-month season to pay obeisance to Lord Ayyappa peaks. “During the half-an-hour meeting that began at 12.30 p.m., they discussed the measures taken to address complaints regarding lack of basic amenities like drinking water, toilets and restrooms at Nilackal, Pampa and on way to Sanidhanam,” according to a statement released by the Governor’s office.
As news spread about the arrests, in Thiruvananthapuram protesters assembled near Pinarayi Vijayan’s residence and shouted slogans.
The situation grew tense late Sunday, when over 200 pilgrims did not vacate the temple premise after 10 PM, as ordered by the state administration and stayed put, singing Lord Ayyappa hymns and chants.
The Sabarimala temple opened its doors at 5 PM, on November 17 for two months. The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 when the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.
The apex court on November 13 refused to stay that verdict. While the Kerala government is trying hard to see that the apex court verdict is implemented, the BJP/RSS, sangh parivar forces and the Congress-led UDF are up in arms against violation of the temple tradition.