Women journalists blocked, cars attacked near Sabarimala
Women journalists blocked, cars attacked near Sabarimala
A motorcycle rally joined protests against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court
17 October, 2018, 19:02
Heavy security deployment was seen in Nilakkal as hundreds of protesters opposing the apex court's verdict are likley to block women's entry into Sabarimala temple.
Pooja Prasaanna of Republic TV said the protesters hurled stones at a police van where she and her crew members had taken shelter after their vehicle was targeted, and snatched away batons carried by police officers who tried to shield them. A journalist is reported to have been injured.
This enraged traditionalists, including supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "Considering the gravity of the matter, the commission has also directed them to take appropriate stringent action against people who are responsible for the attacks and a detailed action taken report may be intimated to NCW at the earliest", it said.
Acting tough, the police, deployed in large numbers in Nilakkal, some 20 km away from the Sabarimala hilltop, also removed a makeshift shelter erected by a protesting group Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti.
Some other organisations have said women and girls aged between 10 and 50 years will have to tread on them before entering the temple, the portals of which will be thrown open on Wednesday for the monthly prayer. Easwar, who was kept at the Pamba police station, said Ayyappa devotees only wanted their right under Article 25 of the constitution that provided for freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion to be protected.
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The TV journalist was sitting in her vehicle when the protestors surrounded her auto and blocked her from entering the temple. The police had to encircle her in order to protect her from the angry crowd. We had many such wrongful traditions. Those protesting there are BJP and RSS people.
Two years ago, activists successfully campaigned to end a ban on women entering the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra state.
Women were also permitted to enter Mumbai's Haji Ali Dargah mausoleum, a Muslim place of worship, after the Supreme Court scrapped a ban in 2016.
A woman Madhavi on her way to the temple returned mid-way along with her relatives after facing protests. The top court's verdict hasn't gone down well with many devotees mostly women.
The centuries-old ban reflected an old but still prevalent belief that menstruating women are impure, and the fact that Ayyappa was reputed to have been celibate. They were outraged by the Sabarimala temple chief's statement that he would allow women to enter only after a machine was invented to detect if they were "pure" - meaning that they weren't menstruating.
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