Sabarimala standoff continues: Two women forced to retreat after coming close to hill shrine

As the state government refrained the police from resorting to force, police, the women had to drop their plan in view of a large number of protesters who gathered at the spot.

Two Kerala women of menstruating age who were reportedly less than a kilometre from reaching Sabarimala on Monday morning were forced to return amid massive protests by Lord Ayappa devotees. One of the two women reportedly fainted at the spot. This came a day after a group of 6 women were forced to return without offering prayers at the temple amid violent protests.

Bindu and Kanakadurga, residents of Kozhikode and Malappuram respectively, began their trek with a police escort but were stopped later after reaching Marakootam, about a kilometer from the Sannidhanam. “We are here to seek ‘darshan’ (offer prayers) of Lord Ayyappa. The Supreme Court order must be enforced and hope, police will provide us security,” Bindu was quoted as saying by PTI. Read in Malayalam.

As the state government refrained the police from resorting to force, police, the women had to drop their plan in view of a large number of protesters who gathered at the spot.

A huge turnout of nearly 1.5 lakh devotees is expected at the shrine today on account of the Christmas holidays. Meanwhile, BJP activists staged a protest outside the house of one of the woman devotee in Quilandy.

On Sunday, a group of six women of menstruating age, who had arrived from Tamil Nadu to offer prayers at Sabarimala, were forced to return after protests by Lord Ayappa devotees took a violent turn at Pamba base camp.

While 11 women, all members of the Chennai-based ‘Manithi’ outfit, had arrived at the spot, only six of them who had carried the traditional irumudikettu (which is mandatory to climb the ‘pathinettam padi’ – holy steps leading to sanctum sanctorum) attempted to reach the hill shrine. Despite being escorted by the police, the women were not allowed to proceed beyond the base camp.

As the news of their arrival spread, a large number of devotees thronged Pamba, about five kilometres away from Sannidhanam (Sabarimala temple complex), and blocked paths and tried to chase the women away. Determined to enter the shrine, the group, led by Selvi, chose to sit on the road for over six hours. But the protesters also held fort and refused to let them proceed to the hill shrine.

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