Media houses asked not to assign women journalists at Sabarimala as the hilltop shrine reopens tomorrow

As the Sabarimala Ayappa Temple is all set to open tomorrow for a special puja, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint platform of right wing outfits such as Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Hindu Aikyavedi had appealed to the media houses urging them not to assign women reporters in the hill top shrine. This is the second time the doors of the shrine is opening after the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of all ages to enter, PTI reported.

Spearheading Agitation

The SKS is spearheading the agitation against the Supreme Court order allowing women of menstruating age to enter the shrine, citing the deity of the temple, Lord Ayyappa is a Naishtika Brahmachari (celibate). Last month, when the hill top shrine was opened for monthly puja for five days, apparently, the first ever time after the court order, women reporters, who went to the shrine as part of their reporting assignments were heckled and their vehicles were damaged through stone pelting by the angry mob of protesters in addition to attacking the women devotees and forcing them to go back. The mob, consisting of Hindu fringe groups laid a siege to the road leading to Sabarimala.

In a statement sent to all editors and a copy of which was released to the media as well, SKS stated that even the entry of women journalists who come under the menstruating age group are likely to aggravate the situation. The statement further said, “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.”

On November 5, the doors of the temple will be opened in the evening for puja on the occasion of Chithira Aattavisesham the following day, the birthday of the last King of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, said the report. The doors of the temple will be closed at 10.00 on November 6, only to be reopened on November 17 for the three-month long annual pilgrim season.