Less than 48 hours before the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala will be open to women of all age groups as per a Supreme Court ruling last month, thousands of Lord Ayyappa devotees, mostly women, continue to carry out protests against the ruling. Earlier, police had to try and control the angry protesters who turned violent and tried to break brigades. A massive protest today reached the Kerala secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. Political parties and Hindu organisations have also been part of the ‘Save Sabarimala’ campaign.
One of the petitioners, Rahul Eashwar had earlier claimed that they protesters would all sleep in front of the shrine when it opens doors to women on 17 preventing them entry.
Here are the updates of the Sabarimala protests:
Devotees, mostly women, take part in the ‘namajapa’ (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) march against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, in Ernakulam on Saturday
Shiv Sena’s Kerala unit last week warned that their women activists will commit suicide if any young woman tries to enter the shrine. A member of the Shiv Sena Kerala unit, Peringammala Aji told ANI that their women squad will gather near the Pamba River on October 17 and 18 as part of their so-called suicide group.
“Our women activists will gather near the Pamba River on October 17 and 18 as part of a suicide group. When any young woman tries to enter Sabarimala, our activists will commit suicide,” Mr Aji said.
Lord Ayyappa devotees during a protest called by various Hindu organisations against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, in Ahmedabad on Sunday (Press Trust of India)
The opposition Congress, BJP and various Hindu outfits have launched protests, demanding that the state government to file a review petition against the September 28 top court order.
Four review petitions have been filed against the Sabarimala judgement, but the Supreme Court had said there will be no urgent hearing. “It will be listed in due course,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said.
The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala has traditionally barred all women of menstruating age, entry into the shrine. The custom in the temple was challenged by petitioners who argued that women cannot be denied the constitutional right to worship.
The ruling was however followed by several protests and statements made by leaders of political parties. Malayalam actor Kollam Thulasi made a shocking statement today, saying women entering Sabarimala temple should be ripped into half. Hitting out at both the central and the state governments, he said one half should be sent to Delhi while the other half should be thrown towards Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s house.
On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the ban on the entry of women of all ages into the shrine.
The top court had made several strong statements during its verdict saying that, “To treat women as lesser children of God is blinking at the Constitution”. The court also made statements like,”Lord Ayappa is not a separate denomination” and “Rules based on biological characteristics will not muster constitution”.
Thousands of Lord Ayyappa devotees have continued weeks of protests taking to the streets in Kochi to protest against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women into Sabarimala temple.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, which decided to implement the ruling, held a meeting to evaluate the preparations carried out for pilgrims at the temple which will open on October 17.