As the Sabarimala temple gears to reopen for devotees Hindu radical groups in Kerala protesting against women’s entry have told media outlets not to send women journalists to the shrine for coverage as it may “aggravate the situation”. Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint platform of right-wing outfits, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Aikyavedi, have collectively issued the appeal before the temple’s brief opening.

“Recognising your right to support or oppose the devotees stand on this issue, we hope you will not take a stand which would aggravate the situation,” said the appeal letter to editors. A copy of it was also released to the media in which the Samiti said that women of menstruating age entering the temple can also aggravate the situation.

This time the temple is opening today and will close again on November 6 midnight. This is the second time the temple is opening after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on women of menstruating age from entering the temple of Lord Ayyappa. Earlier it opened last month when nine women tried entering the temple and only two could reach till a few meters away from the temple gate. But no woman could enter the inner sanctum of the temple as the head priest threatened that he would leave the temple if a woman set foot inside the premises. He also suggested that they should wash the entire trek path with the holy water from the temple as women have walked the path to enter the temple.

“Recognising your right to support or oppose the devotees stand on this issue, we hope you will not take a stand which would aggravate the situation.”

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Protesters along the way right from the base camp of Nilakkal and Pampa impeded all the women who came to visit the temple and also vandalized one woman’s house as she came closest to the temple.  However, this time the police has deputed a 5000-strong team to guard the way from Nilakkal to the temple. They have released rules of entering the temple and no one other than devotees and media person can enter.

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