Several Hindu outfits in Kerala agitating against the entry of women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala Temple have urged media houses not to depute women journalists to cover the issue ahead of its opening for a special puja on Monday. This will be the second time after the Supreme Court allowed entry of girls and women in the age group of 10-50 into it.
The ‘appeal’ was issued by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint platform of right-wing outfits, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Aikyavedi.
The samiti has been spearheading the agitation against the apex court’s order lifting an age-old ban on the entry of women in menstrual age group into the temple, whose deity Lord Ayyappa is a celibate.
In its letter to editors, a copy of which was released to the media, the samiti said even the entry of women journalists belonging to this age group as part of their job was also likely to aggravate the situation.
“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,” it said.
When the temple opened for monthly puja for five days last month, first time after the court order, women reporters, on their way to cover the occasion, were heckled, their vehicles attacked and young female devotees forced to turn back as protesters, including activists of Hindu fringe groups, laid a siege to the road leading to Sabarimala.
Besides the usual poojas, "Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal" special pooja, will be held on Tuesday and the shrine will be closed at 10 pm. A prohibitory order under section 144 CrPc banning assembly of four or more people had come into force at Pamba, Nilackal, Elavungal, and Sannidhanam from midnight Saturday till Tuesday midnight. Barricades have been erected at many places en route to Nilakkal and police personnel are allowing vehicles only after checking, according to report in the DNA.