Sabarimala Temple opens first time after SC verdict, woman forced to return from shrine

Despite warnings of “mass suicides” and disruption, the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala will open its doors on Wednesday – this time for women devotees of all ages as well. Tensions are running high in Kerala as the gates to the hill shrine will be opened for the first time since the Supreme Court lifted the age-old entry ban on women in the 10-50 age group, as per IE report.

As devotees make their way to the shrine, the police has detained multiple protesters for blocking the pilgrims. Representatives of the Thandri (priest) family and members of the Pandalam Royal family were detained. The BJP, in a warning to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said, “The protest will change the face of Kerala.” Kerala BJP leaders also warned of “severe consequences” if the police lathicharge “Hindu devotees.”

This is despite Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warning of “stern action” against those who prevent devotees from going to Sabarimala. “We will ensure security to all. Nobody will be allowed to take law into their hands. My government will not allow any violence in the name of Sabarimala,” Vijayan said and ruled out any rethink of his government’s decision against seeking a review of the Supreme Court order, noted the report. The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the hill-shrine, met the Tantri (head priest) family, the Pandalam royals and members of the Ayyappa Seva Sangam on Tuesday to reach a consensus on the issue and will further discuss it on Friday.

Woman forced to return from steps of temple

Madhavi, the first woman who attempted to enter the Sabarimala Temple was turned back from the steps of the shrine amid the protests over the Supreme Court verdict. Citing a report in The News Minute, the IE report said that the police had to push the crowd away as they were trying to escort Madhavi and her family to safety. The group had to return as the police failed to accompany them after a point and left the shrine dejected, while the NMT also reported that 50 people have been booked for blocking Madhavi’s way.

Representatives of Royal family detained in Pampa

Representatives of the Thandri (priest) family and members of the Pandalam Royal family were detained in Pamba for protesting against the Supreme Court’s verdict that allows women of all ages in the shrine. Reacting strongly on the development, Kerala BJP leader Shobha Surendran warned of “severe action” if the police touch “any Hindu devotee.” Talking to reporters in Pamba, she said, “I am warning the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan that if the police resort to lathi charge on Hindu devotees, the BJP will firmly rally behind these pilgrims. I also want to tell the CM that consequences will be severe.” Adding that the protests will change “the face of Kerala,” she asked, “Why were the members of the priests family and the royal family detained when they did nothing to provoke. They were protesting peacefully. I also want to tell the CM who persisted to get the SC verdict delivered in favour of the govt that there will be severe consequences.” Shoba, along with K Surendran and MT Ramesh are undertaking Nama japa (prayers) at Pamba, added the report.