Sabarimala temple opens once again but no woman spotted!

Nov 06, 2018, 08:23 IST | Agencies

Police on high alert; section 144 to be in force till Tuesday night when the shrine's doors will close

Sabarimala temple opens once again but no woman spotted!
Devotees trek from Nilakkal base camp towards Sabarimala Temple, in Pathanamthitta, on Monday. Pic/PTI

The doors to the Ayyappa temple here opened on Monday for the second time in three weeks for a two-day special puja amid unprecedented security over apprehension of protests by those opposing the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups into the shrine. Though no girl or woman in the age group of 10-50 years was spotted at the temple, police said a 30-year-old woman had reached the base camp at Pamba along with her husband and two kids.

However, the woman, Anju, a native of Cherthala in Alappuzha district, told the police that she was not keen to visit the shrine and admitted that she had come to Pamba following pressure from her husband, Abilash. Police claimed it was her husband, who was adamant that the family, including their children aged 7 and 4 years, undertake the pilgrimage. Kerala police spoke in conflicting voices about the development with a local official claiming that the woman had sought police protection while Superintendent of Police Rahul R Nair said the woman had not sought police escort.

As the husband continued to stick to his stand, police decided to ask their relatives to come to Pamba to take a final call. Anju and her family are waiting at the police control room as the temple closed its doors at 10 pm. Sabarimala virtually turned into a fortress with hundreds of cops, including armed commandos, dotting the place where cameras and cell phone jammers were installed.

Govt shouldn't interfere in temple's matters
Coming down heavily on the state government, the Kerala HC made it clear that it had no right to interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the Ayyappa temple and its role was confined to maintaining law and order in the area. The court also flayed the government and the police over causing hardships to the pilgrims trekking to Sabarimala for the "darshan" of Lord Ayyappa.

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