Tension mounts in Kerala as Sabarimala set to open today



															Thousands of police personnel, including policewomen, were deployed at the base camps as protesters gathered to stop thwart women of menstruating ages from going on the pilgrimage. (Vivek Nair /Hindustan Times)

The temple doors are set to open to devotees for first time after the SC verdict at 5 pm today. tags

Tension mounted in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta as Sabarimala temple is set to open for devotees on Wednesday, the first time after the Supreme Court verdict which allowed women of all ages to enter the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayappa.

The temple doors are set to open at 5 pm today. Thousands of police personnel, including policewomen, were deployed at the base camps as protesters gathered to stop thwart women of menstruating ages from going on the pilgrimage.

In Nilakkal, the second base camp, tents of devotees demolished as police warned protesters against preventing women from entering the shrine.

The family of the tantric (head priest) was set to lead a protest in Pambha, the first base camp. The Sabarimala Samrakshna Samity has called for a 24-hour bandh.

All small towns leading to Sabarimala, Erumeli, Vadessrikara, in Pathnamthitta remained tense as police prevented protecters.

Devasom minister Kadakampally Surendran has called for a review meeting at hilltop temple.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reiterated that his administration will not file any review petition against last month’s Supreme Court order that allowed women between 10 years and 50 years to enter Sabarimala in what has been hailed as a landmark verdict.

He said no one will be allowed to stop devotees from visiting the temple in the Western Ghats.

On a rainy Tuesday, believers of the centuries-old tradition threatened self-immolation and blocked women of reproductive age from visiting the 800-year-old shrine in south Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district since its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be celibate.

First Published: Oct 17, 2018 08:11 IST

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