New Delhi: As the Sabarimala Temple is set to open its doors for a special prayer on November 5, the Hindu outfits, barring women’s entry in the shrine, have urged media houses to not send women journalists to cover the event. Notably, the temple is opening for a day on Monday, for the second time after the Supreme Court’s decision to quash restrictions on the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50.
The Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint platform of right-wing outfits, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has sent letter to editors on Sunday informing them that the entry of women journalists (belonging to menstrual age group) inside the temple was also likely to aggravate the situation. (Also Read: Section 144 to be imposed at Sabarimala temple)
“Recognising your right to support or oppose the devotees stand on this issue, we hope you will not take a stand which would aggravate the situation,” the letter read.
Earlier last month, the shrine witnessed angry protests by devotees and other outfits over entry of women in the ‘barred’ age group, when it was opened for five days from October 17-22 for monthly puja.
At least a dozen young women, who made a vain attempt to offer prayers, had to retreat following protests against the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s decision to implement the Supreme Court order permitting women of all ages to trek the hills. Some 543 cases have been registered in connection with the violent protests and 3,701 persons arrested till Thursday, police claimed.
In the backdrop of the violent protests, the Lord Ayyappa shrine will be under heavy security cover from midnight tonight. Pathanamthitta district collector has decided to impose Section 144 in Sannidhanam, Pamba, Nilakkal, and Elavunkal from November 4-6. To avoid any untoward situation, police presence will be increased in Sannidhanam.
Earlier on October 31, the Supreme Court had refused an early hearing to review petitions on the Sabarimala Temple issue. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said the temple will open for 24 hours on November 5-6 and that court had already fixed the matter for hearing after November 11, reported ANI. The pleas, at least 19 in number, have been filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Malayali Sangh among others.
The Supreme Court, on September 28, had thrown open the doors of the ancient temple. It said keeping out women in the age group of 10-50 years was wrong and went against their basic rights. The top court’s verdict had come 4:1 in favour of women.
(With inputs from agencies)