Sabarimala: Women delegation arrives in Pamba, security tightened

Pamba (Kerala): In a bid to enter the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala, a group of women of menstrual age on Sunday morning reached Pamba base camp to trek to the hilltop shrine amid heightened security arrangements.

Earlier in the day, Lord Ayyappa devotees staged protests outside Kottayam Railway Station and other nearby areas of the temple to oppose the entry of these women into the Sabarimala Temple.

Keeping law and order situation in mind, the Pathanamthitta district magistrate has extended prohibitory orders till December 27. The order 144 prohibits unlawful gathering and protest between Elavungal and Sannidhanam.

The decision has been taken on the basis of reports from the district police chief, executive magistrates and considering the former incidents at the time of Chithra atta festival and monthly pooja in the holy shrine.

Furthermore, Kerala’s Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said a three-member committee has been constituted by the Kerala High Court, including two judges, to observe the activities in Sabarimala. “The committee will take the decision and the government will implement it,” he said.

The women devotees were heard appealing to protestors to allow them to visit the temple. One of the women said, “Please give us way, we will visit the temple and return back soon.” They had already sought permission from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to visit the temple today.

The Sabarimala temple and surrounding areas witnessed a string of protests after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on entry of women inside the temple.

Till now, no woman of the previously-forbidden age group has been able to enter the temple due to widespread protests.