Temporary Restriction on large gatherings in Sabarimala town as the hilltop shrine will reopen its gates on November 5, 2018

The police administration of Sabarimala town has imposed a temporary ban on large gatherings from Saturday as the hilltop temple is prepared to reopen its gates on Monday (November 5), amid fears of violence and protests by right-wing activists. The right-wing group is opposing the Supreme Court verdict that women of all age can enter Sabarimala. While the Government of Kerala is trying to implement the SC order, right-wing protesters, backed by various groups such as the BJP cadre, Nair Service Society, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalanam (SNDP), the Royal Family of Pandalam and others. The protesters attacked media persons and women of menstural age who tried to enter the shrine and sent them back recently when the temple doors were opened for dharshan. After that violence, police swooped on the protesters and arrested more than 2,000 of them who were identified through CCTV and other video footages. This time around, the police is not taking a chance. The police had imposed restrictions across Elavunkal, Nilakkal, Pampa and Sannidhanam until Tuesday, November 6 midnight.

T Narayanan, Superintendent of Police, Pathanamthittta said an estimated 1,500 police officers are manning the security in this region. In addition to that the security arrangements will also be under the scanner of Anil Kanth, Additional Digital General of Police. What is more, the media persons were asked to stay away from the hill top shrine until the day of the reopening. Elaborate traffic arrangements have been made. Barricades are in strategic places on the way to Nilakkal and Pampa. Narayanan told the media that women devotees haven’t approached the police so far asking for entering the temple during this phase of the pilgrimage. If any woman comes forward, the police will ensure that the Supreme Court order is implemented, the officer asserted. Till yesterday, the Kerala police had booked 536 cases and swoopped around 3,719 protesters in connection with October 17 violence. As many of them were later let off, around 100 of them are still being detained.

PS Sreedharan Pillai, President, BJP Kerala unit charged that he had received death threat from someone that he would be bumped off during the Sabarimala Protectin Rathayatra from November 8-13. Apparently, the BJP Kerala unit has informed the DGP Loknath Behra, the agency report said.