Kerala: Two women who reached Nilakkal base camp on Saturday to trek to Sabarimala Temple, returned after police warned them about the protesters gathered in Pamba. Earlier in the month, the two women namely Reshma and Shalina had tried to offer prayers at Lord Ayyappa shrine but failed to enter the temple. This time, though they were accompanied by a team of six men, they had to return owing to possible protests.

Notably, the unsuccessful attempt by the women comes a day after the Kerala government in a note to the Supreme Court said that 51 women between 10 and 50 years of age had entered the holy shrine since the Supreme Court pronounced the historic verdict.

A note by Kerala Police chief said, “Over 16 lakh devotees have done the online registration for ‘darshan’ in the Sabarimala Temple and out of these 8.2 lakhs have visited the shrine. A total of 7564 women between the age of 10 and 50 have registered for darshan, and as per the digitally scanned records around 51 women in this group have already visited the shrine and had darshan, without any issue. This doesn’t include many others who have come as normal pilgrims and not availed the online facility. A total number of 44 lakh pilgrims visited the temple from November 16, 2018, till date.”

After nearly four months since the Supreme Court’s verdict, two women Bindu and Kanakadurga (aged below 50) entered the Lord Ayyappa temple to offer prayers. Following the visit, Kanakadurga was thrashed by her mother-in-law for entering the temple. The victim was admitted in a hospital as she was allegedly hit around 10-12 times with a wooden stick by her mother-in-law.

Violence erupted following the entry of the two women. Agitators threw stones and blocked the national highways. A purification process also took place in the temple on account of the women having entered the holy shrine. As per the rituals of the temple, the cleaning ceremony was done as the women of menstruating age were considered impure.

On September 28 last year, the apex court lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years into the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala.

(With Agency inputs)