New Delhi: Two women devotees, who were on their way to Sabarimala, is being brought back to Pampa base camp amid ongoing protest. Earlier it was reported that they had been stopped by protesters at Appachimedu, two kilometres away from the hilltop shrine.
News agency ANI reported that Lord Ayyappa devotees are holding the protest in Perinthalmanna, Malappuram, outside the residence of Bindu, a woman devotee who began the trek to Sabarimala Temple today morning.
Earlier on Sunday, tension gripped the area after a group of 11 women made an unsuccessful attempt to trek hilltop shrine. The women were forced to leave as hundreds of devotees blocked paths and chased women. Police took two dozen protesters into custody
However, this is not first any women are making attempt to trek. Around two dozen other women have already tried and failed to go up the pathway leading to the temple even after the top court’s verdict on September 28 allowing women of all ages to enter the temple. (Also Read: Sabarimala Row: Kerala Govt Files Affidavit in HC, Says Police Not Involved in Provocation of Violence)
The first phase of the 41-day long annual pilgrim season at the Lord Ayyappa temple would culminate on December 27 with the puja.
Notably, women, in the age group of 10-50 years, are traditionally barred from entering the Sabarimala temple. But the Supreme Court, through its September 28 landmark verdict, lifted the curb and permitted women of all age groups to offer prayers at the temple.
Kerala had witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in the 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala temple since the state government decided to implement the Supreme Court order.
Marking the culmination of the 41-day ‘vratha’ (penance), Mandala Puja, the first phase of the Sabarimala pilgrimage, would be held on December 27 at the Lord Ayyappa temple. In recent days, the shrine has witnessed a steady inflow of pilgrims as the police had eased certain restrictions even as the prohibitory orders are still in place.
Earlier this month, the Kerala High Court had appointed a three-member committee, vesting them with powers to oversee law and order and other problems faced by pilgrims during the ongoing annual season.