The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it will take up the hearing of fresh petitions, both review and writ, in regard to the entry of women into the Sabarimala Temple on November 13. There are 19 review petitions pending before the apex court this connection.
The doors of Lord Ayappa’s shrine closed on Monday after it was opened on Wednesday evening for the first pilgrim season. The temple remains open for only five days a month. Despite the apex court's verdict not a single woman, aged between 10-50, managed to enter into the Lord Ayyappa temple.
Since Day One, there have been protests to stop women from entering the hill shrine even after the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment allowing women of all age groups to visit Lord Ayyappa’s temple. Over the past few days, a dozen of women, including activists and journalists, attempted to reach the temple despite being heckled, hassled and threatened, but they were forced to retreat.
On Monday, another woman trying to enter into the temple was forced to retreat by agitated protesters amid tight security arrangements.
Police officials asked the media to vacate the areas in and around Sannidhaman and Pamba as they had received inputs of a targeted attack being planned on the media.
Bindu, a Scheduled Caste activist, who was proceeding to Pambaat the foothills of Sabarimala temple from where devotees under take an arduous 5 km trek to the shrine, was given police protection at her request, officials said.
However, when the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus she was travelling on with police personnel was about to reach Pamba, a group of BJP workers and those opposing the entry of girls and women aged between 10 and 50 years into the temple, blocked the road and forced her to alight.The woman was escorted to safety in a police jeep.
The police said they would provide protection to the women devotees to reach the temple, but cannot help beyond that. “Darshan is something which can be done with the consent of the priest,” said Kerala Inspector General S Sreejith had said.