The women were less than 500 metres away from the main shrine and had to just climb the final 18 steps to see the main idol.
One of the two women who had trekked uphill to visit the Sabarimala temple. (Photo: ANI)
History was missed by a whisker on Friday morning when the two women who trekked uphill to the Sabarimala temple were made to return without visiting the main shrine.
They had braved massive protests on their way and had trekked uphill amid heavy security cover. The women were less than 500 metres away from the main shrine and had to just climb the final 18 steps to see the main idol.
Inspector General of Police S Sreejith said the two women were informed about the ground situation in the temple and that controlling the situation may become difficult. Following this, the two women decided to return to the base camp.
Besides this, sources said that the main priest of the temple had also told police that the temple will be shut down if women are allowed to enter the temple.
Earlier, the Pandalam Royals had directed the head priest to close the temple if women were allowed to enter it.
The two women-one a journalist from Andhra Pradesh and the other a resident of Kochi-had braved protesters and climbed uphill amid heavy security cover. Police had to form a massive security ring around them owing to strong resistance from the agitators who are protesting against the Supreme Court verdict that lifted a ban on entry of women of menstrual age to enter the much-frequented shrine in Kerala.
Visuals from ground zero showed that anticipating an attack, the women were wearing helmets and other protective body gears as they trekked toward the Sabarimala temple.
The journalist from Andhra Pradesh had told senior police officers that she wanted to report from the shrine and needs security cover. She had said that she will not climb the final 18 steps as she said was not going there as a devotee. Besides this, she had not completed the rites that all devotees are required to perform before entering the shrine.
Meanwhile, the other woman was visiting the temple as a devotee and would have climbed the final 18 steps had the police provided sufficient security assurances. She was dressed in traditional attire and had performed the required rituals to enter the shrine and see the main idol.
On the other hand, while the woman was on her way to the Sabarimala temple, some people attacked her home in Kochi and vadalised the property.