In the latest turn of event, Mary Sweety, a woman devotee returned half way, apparently when she was stopped by the protesters at Pamba. Meanwhile, journalist, Kavitha Jakkal and another woman activist, Rehana Fatima attempted to visit the hilltop shrine with the help of police.
S Sreenath, Inspector General told ANI, “We had brought journalist Kavitha Jakkal and the woman activist, till temple premises but the tantri and priest refused to open temple for them. While we were waiting, the tantri informed me that if we attempt to take the women ahead, they would close the temple.”
Terming the incident as a ritualistic disaster, Sreenath said, “We took them up to the temple and gave them protection, but ‘darshan’ is something which can be done with the consent of the priest. We will give them whatever protection they want.”
The Chief Priest, Kandararu Rajeevararu said, “We have decided to lock the temple and handover the keys and leave. I stand with the devotees. I do not have any other option.” In the meantime, Mary Sweety, the woman devotee, who had to return half way through was quoted as saying by the ANI, “I don’t know about them (journalist Kavita and woman activist Rahana Fatima), if women have returned, it is their drawback. Nevertheless, I want to go to Sabarimala Temple.”
Sreejith said, “We have told the female devotees about the situation, they will now be going back. So we are pulling back. They have decided to return.”
In a related development, NDTV quoted a devotee as saying, “The Kerala Government should have implemented the decision in a hasty manner. They should take the views of all the stakeholders into consideration. The State government tried to implement the SC order with brutal force and this is not acceptable.”
Meanwhile, the hearing in the bail application matter of Hindu activist, Rahul Easwar will take place tomorrow before the Pathanamthitta Judicial First Class Magistrate I. Easwar was arrested on October 17 from Nilakkal base camp.
“Giving security to the women devotees is important. But now I understand today it’s activists who have tried to undertake the trek towards the shrine. Government cannot pre-decide whether it is activist or people,” Devasom Board Minister Kadamkapally Surendran said.
“Government is focused on protecting the interest of every devotees and will provide protection to those who want to enter the shrine. However, the government will not allow activists to turn Sabarimala into a place to prove themselves, he added.
Thomas Issac, the Finance Minister of the Kerala Government tweeted, “They are not devotees who are indulging in violence, but BJP volunteers who have gathered in the guise of devotees. There was no women devotee at the scenes of violence but only women journalists and that too kilometres from the temple. Violence at Sabarimala is BJP’s manipulation.”