As the controversial temple of Kerala, Sabarimala, reopened on Monday at 5.30 pm for a day until November 6 midnight, there is great worry in the air as protesters strictly stand by disallowing women within the age group of 10-50 to enter the temple. Over 5000 visitors waited in long queues as police allowed only smaller groups of people to enter the temple at once. As of now, no woman in the menstruating age has tried visiting the temple and crossed the trek.

However, a 30-year-old woman Anju did come with her husband and two children to Pamba base camp, but as protesters knew that she was coming, Hindu Aikya Vedi leader Sasikala led hymn chanting against Anju. She later told the police that her husband had forced her to come along with the children and she was returning. Another woman, who is 52 years old, Lalitha from Thrissur was surrounded by protesters as she tried entering the temple and while she told them her age, they did not believe her. She had to show her Aadhar Card to enter the temple. She told reporters that she had come for her grandchild’s ‘choroonu’ (first rice-feeding ceremony) at the Pamba Ganapathy Temple and that the police had checked her ID card and cleared her entry.

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A huge contingent of police is guarding the route that leads to the temple and they even have Section 144 decreed in the area to curb protests. The police are supporting the court rule and have announced that they will help any woman who is willing to go to the temple.

A 30-year-old Anju did come with her husband and two children to Pamba base camp but as protesters knew that she was coming, Hindu Aikya Vedi leader Sasikala led hymn chanting against Anju.

When the temple had opened last month, huge protests took place against women who tried to enter the hill shrine. Only two women, Rehana Fathima and Kavita Jakkal, an activist and a journalist respectively could reach closest to the temple gate and could not enter the temple. In all, nine women tried to complete the trek to the temple. Several Hindu groups have threatened and warned media groups also to not send women journalists for the temple coverage.

“They have no right to interfere with the media and prevent journalists who happen to be women from doing their jobs.  Worse, in effect, it amounts to an open threat from the Samithi to women journalists,” Network of Women in Media responded to the “veiled threats”.

Picture credit- The Hindu

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