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Sabarimala temple updates: Ayyappa devotees stop womens entry, 20 detained

Sabarimala temple updates: Ayyappa devotees stop womens entry, 20 detained

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday attacked the right-wing Hindu outfits for opposing the entry of women into the revered Sabarimala temple in Kerala despite the Supreme Court order allowing women of all ages to enter the famous hill shrine.

Some women journalists faced the ire of a section of protesters agitating against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age into the Sabariamala temple and their vehicles attacked in Nilackal.

Two years ago, activists successfully campaigned to end a ban on women entering the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra state.

Simmering tension prevailing in Nilackal since morning erupted into raucous rowdyism as scores of activists of fringe groups heckled women journalists of at least four national TV channels and vandalised their vehicles.

Some people were taken into custody by police at Nilackal for staging protests against the decision to allow women in the menstruating age into the Ayyappa shrine.

Sabarimala is to open its doors to all devotees today, but there is fierce opposition to women entering the temple.

The police were ill-prepared to counter the offensive and the first batch of women cops reached the spot only around 2pm.

Hundreds of policemen could be seen in Pamba, Nilakkal and Erumeli - the important landmarks on way to Sabarimala.

The NewDelhi Television channel reported that some 20 protesters surrounded a bus in which a reporter of The Newsminute channel was traveling and tried to pull her out. The reporter was kicked by angry protesters who hurled abuses at her, NDTV reported. The police moved her to their vehicle to save her from the wrath of the devotees. Some other protestors attacked a reporter of ETV Bharat, Mohammed Shafi, in Nilakkal. The police initiated action when protesters tried to block the buses from the key entry point to the temple.

The Minister also condemned the alleged attack on media personnel. A mob reportedly surrounded her auto and shouted loudly at her, making intimidating gestures, besides banging on the vehicle from all sides. They alleged the police removed the members of the tantri and royal families without any provocation.

State Congress working president K Sudhakaran led party workers in the protest at Nilakkal to express solidarity with believers. An embattled Left Front government reacted sharply to the protests, with the state's religious trusts minister Kadakampally Surendran calling them "politically motivated". P Aji, a senior Shiv Sena leader, said that their "suicide squads" comprising men and women above 50 are ready for the supreme sacrifice.

" "We know very well the agenda of RSS and BJP", he said adding the LDF government had no intention to have any confrontation with the believers".

Petitioners who appealed to the Supreme Court to lift the ban said that this custom violated equality guaranteed under India's constitution.


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