Tight security in Sabarimala as TN women devotees to attempt to visit temple on Sunday


December 22, 2018

The Kerala police have beefed up security at Sabarimala as a group of Tamil Nadu-based women activists have announced they will attempt to trek to the hill shrine on Sunday and many right-wing outfits have threatened to block them.

Office-bearers of ‘Maniti’, a Chennai-based women collective formed in the wake of “honour killings”, said at least 40 women pilgrims, all aged between 22 to 45, will reach Kottayam and Erumeli in small batches and proceed to the temple on Sunday. They said the state government has promised them security and are in touch with senior police officers of Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts.

“Most of us are observing customary fast and we are coming as pilgrims. not as activists. We have informed the state government about our pilgrimage and we expect protection to worship at the hill abode,” said its office-bearer L Vasanthi.

But Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella organisation of many outfits opposing entry of women of reproductive age to the ancient shrine, has announced its plan to block them and its volunteers have fanned out to many railway stations and bus terminals to spot them. “We will not allow them to crush the age-old customs of the temple. It is not a picnic spot for activists,” said Samiti leader K P Sasikala.

The shrine in Pathanamthitta district has been witnessing violent protests by a section of devotees and right-wing groups since the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages to worship at the temple. Trouble began when the state government rushed to implement the verdict. Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party feel the affidavit of the state government supporting women entry led to the top court’s verdict.

As the shrine opened for the annual pilgrimage on November 17, the government imposed many restrictions including prohibitory orders at the hilltop and the base camps to tackle protesters and deployed more than 10,000 police personnel. The state also witnessed three shutdowns over the issue and an uneasy calm is still prevailing at the temple area.

A senior police officer said the women’s team from Tamil Nadu will be told about the ground situation and request to return but if they insist, officials will approach the government to take a decision. Since the pilgrimage is going smoothly now, the Travancore Devasom Board, which runs the temple, is not in favour of vitiating the atmosphere.

Even two months after the verdict. women in the barred age group (10 to 50) were not allowed to worship at the temple. The apex court will take up a bunch of review petitions against its verdict on January 22.

 

“A true devotee never create chaos for fame on his/her devotional center. These group of women so called activist knows that only anarchy will be created by going their and they are just fulfilling their ego. These women activists should work for real issues which women are facing all over the country !”- Editor, Vedic Upasana Peeth

 

Source : Hindustan Times



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