The situation in Kerala, which is still recovering from the ruinous floods, has again worsened, but this time it is the people who aren’t able to settle the matter. It has been three days of continuous struggle, effort and defiance and yet no woman has entered the Sabarimala Temple even after the Supreme Court judgment. Protestors, who are devotees of Lord Ayyappa have laid siege at various camping bases near the temple (like Pamba base) from where the crowds start the journey towards the hill shrine. They are threatening and beating up women irrespective of whether they are devotees or journalists covering the protest, in order to stop them from entering the temple. Even the temple priests who are from Travancore Devaswom Board have warned that if women enter the inner sanctum then they will give up their position.

There is acute law and order issue even after the state government has given its support to women because the Hindu groups like Shiv Sena, Ayyappa Seva Sangh, BJP cadres and women devotees are standing in opposition to the SC order which said that women of all ages can enter the temple now.

Two women, a journalist and an activist, Kavitha Jakkal and Rehana Fatima respectively were metres away from the temple on Friday with heavy police security but they had to return from outside the temple. It was because the state government decided it would not take them to the central temple complex, known as the Sannidhanam, at the cost of using force against protesters.

Secondly, the Tantri of the temple threatened, the Inspector General S Sreejith told that he has said that if women enter then he will leave. After listening to both the government’s concern and the priest’s threat, the two women decided to leave, reported India Today.

At the same time, some protesters threw waste to Rehana’s home in Kochi about 150 km away. “I don’t know what happened to my children,” she was quoted saying after she returned. “My life is also in danger”.

On the entry of the two women who came close to the temple, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media in Thiruvananthapuram, “The government wanted to protect the interest of the faithful. Sabarimala should not become a battlefield.’’

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“The activists should not convert the sacred place as a ground for their show of strength. The government is ready to intervene for protecting the interest of lakhs of devotees. Police should have checked the background of the activists who have gone up to the temple,’’ he said.

After that, a Christian woman from Kazhakkuttom, Mary Sweety (46), reached Pamba with an intention to visit the temple. But the police denied her protection and sent her back.

However today, Kerala Dalit Mahila Federation President SP Manju (38) has reached Pamba with the resolve to enter the temple and reportedly around 100 cops are escorting her, reported Times Now News. Manju dressed traditionally and carried Irumudi Kettu—devotees who have observed 41 days vritham carry it. It consists of coconut, camphor, jaggery, betel leaves, incense stick, raw rice and flowers.

The activists should not convert the sacred place as a ground for their show of strength. The government is ready to intervene for protecting the interest of lakhs of devotees. Police should have checked the background of the activists who have gone up to the temple

Manju is the fifth woman to make an attempt after Jakkal, Fathima, Sweety and New York Times journalist Suhasini Raj who had to succumb to angry protesters.

Police has also arrested BJP leaders along with their supporters, who were protesting against CM Pinarayi Vijayan for allowing activists to enter Sabarimala temple, in Nilakkal. Superstar Rajnikanth has also released a statement today in which he said while he welcomes the landmark judgement, old traditions must be held with high regard and respected.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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