The doors of the Sabarimala Temple will close on Monday evening after it was opened on Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, another woman trying to enter into the temple was forced to retreat by agitated protesters amid tight security arrangements. The Lord Ayyappa temple remains open for only five days a month.
On Monday, 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, according to news agency ANI.
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.
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, several women including journalists had tried to enter the temple only to be stopped amid violent protests.
The police say they will 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.
(With agency inputs)