New Delhi: A multi-layered security has been put in place across Kerala as the Lord Ayyappa temple of Sabarimala is set to open at 5 PM today or Mandalakala season. This comes days after five-judge bench of the of the Supreme Court decided to set up a larger Constitution bench to re-examine religious issues including those arising out of its earlier verdict that lifted a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age visiting the shrine.

It has been reported that over 10,000 police personnel have been posted in phases in and around the hill temple. Speaking to reporters, Pathanamthitta district collector asserted that there was no need for declaring prohibitory orders like 2018.

Last year, the temple had witnessed violent protests by right wing outfits and devotees over the September 28, 2018, order of the apex court allowing women of all age groups, including those in the menstruating age, to offer prayers at the hill shrine. Unlike last year, when the shrine and the adjacent areas were recuperating from the August deluge that had hit the state, the Devaswom Board this year has made extensive arrangements to receive devotees.

Social media under lens

Besides, the Kerala police department has also warned that stringent action would be taken against those spreading false messages on social media and incite violence in the backdrop of the Sabarimala verdict. Those who spread messages, through social media, affecting the communal harmony of the state will be arrested immediately and charged under non-bailable sections, a police press release said.

“All sorts of accounts across various social media platforms are being closely monitored by the Cyber Cell, Cyberdom and Cyber Police Stations”, the release added.

Against women activists ‘gatecrashing’ the temple

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that it was against women activists ‘gatecrashing’ the temple. “It is proper to maintain status quo at the temple. It is not a place for activism. Earlier also, the government has not taken women devotees to Sabarimala, neither will we in future. If anyone wants to go, they can approach courts in this regard” he added.,” the minister courted the controversy yesterday.

Trupti Desai to Visit Temple After Nov 20

Hitting back to the minister, women right activist Trupti Desai on Friday evening announced that she will go to Sabarimala temple after November 20 regardless of whether she would be provided protection by the Kerala government or not.

“I will go to Sabarimala after November 20. We will seek protection from the Kerala government and it is upto them to give us protection or not. Even if not provided with protection, I will visit Sabarimala for the darshan,” said Desai.