Pamba, Dec 23 : Protests have erupted yet again in Kerala’s Sabarimala district as 11 women reached Pamba,to trek uphill and pay obeisance at the Lord Ayyappa shrine but the BJP’s controversial MP Subramanian Swamy has given a new twist to the entire issue by alleging that these women devotees may be “Naxalites”.
“Naxal minded people are instigating women. Today, there is fear of a turmoil. I think we must take them to be troublemakers probably inspired by Naxal forces who hate Hinduism. Action should be taken by the communist government,” Swamy said.
Selvi, member of the women’s devotees group who is currently at Pampa base camp to trek to Sabarimala Temple.” We are here since 3.30 am. Police had said that they will provide us with protection but now they are not providing us protection to trek to the temple,” Selvie said.
Protests have intensified against the women devotees. Lord Ayyappa devotees have claimed that they would not let women of menstrual age enter the Sabarimala shrine and held a protest outside Kottayam Railway station to oppose the entry of women devotees who are gathered at Pampa base camp to trek to the Sabrimala Temple.
Selvi, member of the women's devotees group who is currently at Pampa base camp to trek to #SabarimalaTemple: We are here since 3.30 am. Police had said that they will provide us with protection but now they are not providing us protection to trek to the temple. pic.twitter.com/jDk8ORltOO
— ANI (@ANI) December 23, 2018
The group of women led by Selvie, an activist belonging to the Maniti Women’s group were squatting on the pathway demanding police protection to ascend the hill.
“We came after the Kerala government had assured that we will be allowed to pray at the temple. We will not go back without praying at the temple. The police should ensure protection to us to pray,” said Selvie.
The 11-member Tamil group that reached the base camp on Sunday, have, however, and stayed put at the Pamba base camp.The Kerala Police escorted the women — members of the Chennai-based ‘Manithi’ outfit — to the base camp, which is around 5 kilometres from the Sabarimala shrine.
With the annual Mandala Puja just days away, the Pathanamthitta district magistrate has extended the imposition of Section 144 in the area till 27 December, citing security concerns amid protests. No unlawful gathering or protest is currently allowed between Elavungal and the Sannidhanam. which is the Sabarimala temple complex.
The women from Tamil Nadu are adamant they will not return without praying at the temple.
Sabarimala has been witnessing protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, including those from the hitherto banned age group.
Around two dozen women from that particular age group have already tried and failed to go up the pathway leading to the temple after the top court’s verdict, following protest from the Ayyappa devotees.
“We will give our lives to protect the customs and traditions of the Sabarimala temple. Under no circumstances will these women be allowed to go up the hill,” said angry pilgrims.