Sabarimala temple opens gates for ALL amid Violence

Santosh Hirlekar/PTI

Sabrimala Temple opens its doors to all devotees on Wednesday.

Amid threats of “mass suicides” and disruption, the famous Sabarimala Temple in Kerala will open its doors on Wednesday evening at 5 pm — including for women devotees of all ages.
Tensions are running high in Kerala as the gates to the hill shrine will be opened for the first time since the Supreme Court lifted the age-old entry ban on women in the 10-50 age group.
The police took to lathicharge as protesters pelted stones at those trying to trek to the Sabarimala shrine.

The media personnel, including female journalists, present at the site were also attacked and threatened by the protesters who asked them to turn off their cameras and return.
At least four media organizations were targeted – even in presence of the police, according to some cases.
Republic TV’s Pooja Prasanna was beaten with sticks while Saritha S Balan from The News Minute was kicked on the spine. Personnel from CNN-News 18 and Aaj Tak were also targeted. NDTV was stopped from covering the protests midway — reporter Sneha Mary Koshy and cameraperson SP Babu were heckled and asked to leave.

Sneha Mary Koshy was on a state transport bus carrying devotees to Sabarimala, when a mob of 20 men, allegedly belonging to Karma Samithi surrounded the bus and tried to pull her out. She was verbally abused and physically attacked.

Map showing the site of protest near the Sabarimala shrin
Source: Express Photo

Earlier today, as devotees made their way to the shrine, the police detained multiple protesters for blocking the pilgrims. Representatives of the Thantri (priest) family and members of the Pandalam Royal family were also detained. The BJP, in a warning to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said, “The protest will change the face of Kerala.” Kerala BJP leaders also warned of “severe consequences” if the police lathicharge “Hindu devotees.”

Meanwhile, tribeswomen joined the protest against the state government decision to implement the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to worship at the Sabarimala Temple.
The leader of Malampandaram tribe at Laha, Uthaman, said women who menstruated were denied entry to Sabarimala since decades. The tribal people of Sabarimala Poonkavanom were deeply hurt by the government’s move to break the practice.