Eleven women devotees evicted from Sabarimala base camp amid protests

The police has arrested eleven men protesters so far. Meanwhile, the administration has extended the ban on gathering of large groups between Elavungal and Sannidanam, till December 27.

Sabrimala: Two women allegedly enter, Temple shut downs for purification

Sabrimala: Two women allegedly enter, Temple shut downs for purification

Pamba/Kerala: Eleven women, who hailed from Tamil Nadu in Pamba to attempt the 12-km trek to the Sabarimala hill shrine, on Sunday morning were evicted from the base camp by the Kerala police after the protest broke out against their move.

The women belonging to Chennai-based ‘Manithi’ outfit, had come to offer their prayers to Lord Ayappa, after Supreme court’s verdict which open the temple doors to all, irrespective of age and gender, breaking the age-old-custom of temple which prohibits the entry of women who fall under menstruating age i.e. of 10-50 years.

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However, the women could not reached the temple shrine as the devotees began chanting hymns in protest after the news spread of women devotees trying to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyapa temple. A large number of devotees thronged Pamba, about five kilometres away from Sannidhanam (Sabarimalatemple complex).

The group of women with its coordinator Selvi also asked for police protection so that they could offer prayers amid strong protest. They also told that the protesters “snatched” their “irumudi” or offerings kit that devotees carry on their heads.

“The police failed us. They told us they can’t provide us security and forcibly evicted us”. They further said that Police intentionally “delayed” them in the morning so that the protesters can stop them from entering temple premises.

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However, the police has denied such accusations saying, “We didn’t delay the women in the morning. We provided  adequate security, we tried to take them forward. They decided to go because of the crowd,” said a senior police officer.

It is to be mentioned that the group was expected to be the first to trek to temple shire in December – four months after a Supreme Court order. Around 40 women are expected to arrive over the next few days to attempt offer their prayers on December 30, when the temple opens for Makarsankranti.

The police has arrested eleven men protesters so far. Meanwhile, the administration has extended the ban on gathering of large groups between Elavungal and Sannidanam, till December 27.

The temple’s chief priest has told the government that he would close the temple and stop all rituals if there was any breach in temple’s tradition.3

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