Sabarimala HIGHLIGHTS: Yechury attacks Centre, says BJP ‘whipping up communal passion for electoral gains’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sabarimala-hartal-kerala-live-updates-24-hour-bandh-called-5406739/

Sabarimala HIGHLIGHTS: Yechury attacks Centre, says BJP ‘whipping up communal passion for electoral gains’

Sabarimala Temple Protests Kerala Highlights: Police and the two women are likely to return to Pamba as they don't intend to engage in violence. The government doesn't want Sabarimala to be a site for activism.

Hydrabad based jounalist Kavitha Jakkal and activist Rehna Fathima step off shabarimala with police protection as they were not allowed to enter sannidhanam.Express Photo by Vignesh Krishnamoorthy.19,October,2018,Kerala.

Sabarimala Protests Today Highlights: Two women, a journalist and a social activist who started their climb to the Sabarimala hill Friday morning along with police security decided to descent fearing the protesters, waiting ahead for them.

Inspector General of Police Sreejith, leading a large police contingent, Friday morning spoke to the protesters in an attempt to reason with them, however, the agitators refused to budge replying, “We will not allow you to take young women to the shrine. We are ready to die for our Lord.”

Returning midway from their trek to Sabarimala, journalist Kavitha Jakkal was filled with pride and thankful for the support both women received. Woman activist Rehana Fathima, on the other hand, said that people who want to disrupt peace did not allow them to enter, not the devotees.

As protests continued and violence intensified on the second day since Sabarimala temple opened its doors, the Travancore Devaswom Board on Thursday said it was ready for any compromise to bring peace to the hill shrine, including a review petition in the top court. The Sabarimala temple is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), whose president is ruling CPM party leader A Padmakumar.

Sabarimala news in Malayalam 

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Former Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan said that women trying to enter the shrine is an agenda-driven process and alleged that police is trying to help them in this activity.

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Sabarimala temple entry for women Highlights: Protests gather pace in Kerala. Read in Malayalam and Tamil

Centre not applying the yardstick of equal treatment of women on triple talaq issue to Sabarimala row: Yechury

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury Friday demanded to know why the Centre was not applying the yardstick of equal treatment of women it used on the triple talaq issue to the Sabarimala row and blamed the BJP for whipping up communal passions for electoral gains.  "The government did that saying equality of men and women is fundamental to our constitution and that it should be protected." "Therefore triple talaq is unequal treatment of women and they brought this ordinance. Same principle why they are not applying for Sabarimala?" he asked.

Murmurs on ground suggest Sabarimala will polarise Kerala’s Hindu voters like never before

Hindus, who constitute nearly 55 per cent of Kerala’s population according to the last census, have rarely been polarised in elections in the state, and have never voted en bloc for any party, reports our correspondent Vishnu Varma. 

Read full story 

Kerala PCC Chief says 'Vijayan is like the Roman Emperor Nero'; slams CM for absence from state

The Congress in Kerala Friday alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was responsible for the present tense situation at Lord Ayappa temple in Sabarimala.  Attacking Vijayan, who is in UAE, Kerala PCC president Mullapally Ramachandran said "Vijayan is like the Roman emperor Nero who fiddled while Rome burned."  "The chief minister is holidaying in the Gulf along with his family.. he has failed to perform like a vigilant administrator," he said

Travancore Devaswom Board Chief confirms plan to move against SC verdict

"We have decided to appeal against the Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala Temple": A Padmakumar, President, Travancore Devaswom Board

Ayyappa devotees detained by police for protesting against entry of women into the temple

IN PHOTOS: These two women reached temple hilltop but returned amid protests

Two women reached the temple hilltop, however, protesters did not let them enter the shrine and they had to return back to Pamba fearing for their lives. See, in pictures

'There is nothing happening in the state that needs the CM's direct intervention': Party secretary on CM Vijayan's UAE trip amid Sabarimala protests

CPI (M) Secretary slams Cong, BJP; claims Oppn causing hindrance for govt to abide by SC order

Yechury attacks 'saffron volunteers', draws parallel with Babri Masjid demolition

Centre advises 3 southern states to tighten security due to protests

The Centre has asked the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to tighten security in view of the continuing protests against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala temple. The Union Home Ministry, in an advisory, asked the three states to closely monitor the dissemination of various "adverse" messages through social media and the Internet services, reported PTI.

Former Travancore Devaswom Board president: Sabarimala not a place for sex tourism

Left parties and pro-LWE groups campaign in favour of women entering Sabarimala

In a letter issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday, it had asked Chief Secretaries and Director of General of Police Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to take necessary measures to maintain law and order and to 'prevent any untoward incident'. Letter also states that certain civil, women's rights activists, left parties and pro-LWE groups have been campaigning in favour of the Supreme Court verdict.

BJP volunteers guised as devotees are indulging in violence: Finance MInister of Kerala Thomas Issac

It was not devotees but people who want to disrupt peace who did not allow us: Rehana Fathima

Returning midway from their trek to Sabarimala, journalist Kavitha Jakkal was filled with pride and thankful for the support both women received. 'You've seen what dangeours situation we faced,' said Jakkal. Woman activist Rehana Fathima on the other hand said that people who want to disrupt peace did not allow them to enter, not the devotees. Citing her reason to tread back from the climb to hill shrine, Fathima said her life was in danger and so she has decided to return.

Sabarimala can't be a place for activists to showcase their power: State Devaswon minister

Addressing the issue of two women who attempted to climb the hill shrine this morning, State Devaswon (religious trust) Minister Kadakampally Surendran said people of all ages will be allowed to go to Sabarimala, however, at the same time, it would not become a place where activists can showcase their power. "It can't be a place where they prove certain points of theirs," said the religious trust minister. Further, he said that it has become impossible for the government to figure out who is who as there are some people like activists trying to enter the temple.

BSNL in 'no way' is connected with activites of Rehana Fathima: BSNL issues press release

In a press release, BSNL has issued a statement relating to their employee Rehana Fathima who was one of the two women who climbed hill shrine today morning, clarifying that BSNL is 'no way' connected with the activities of Fathima. General Manager of BSNL, Kerala telecom Circle S. Jyothi Sankar clarified in the press release, Fahima shall be 'fully responsible in her own personal capacity for her activities outside the normal business hours.

It further states that her actions are in no way related to the written assigned official responsibilites, as per BSNL Condusct and Service Rules and Regulations.

Deep down ruling CPM, Opposition and BJP are aware Sabarimala has potential to upend politics in election year

In these battle of words between, deep down the ruling CPM, the Opposition Congress and the BJP realise that Sabarimala has the potential to upend politics in an election year. Senior Kerala BJP leader K Surendran said that “Sabarimala has become a turning point in Kerala politics,” which also reflects the party’s hope and confidence. 

Read| Congress boxed in, BJP benefits and CPM scrambles for cover in rapidly shifting Sabarimala politics

“The sentiments of believers cannot be overlooked”, said former Congress Chief Minister Oomen Chandy virtually echoing senior Kerala RSS functionary P Gopalan Kutty Master. The Congress, Chandy told The Indian Express, has not changed its position.  Sources in Kerala Congress said the party was boxed in a corner by an aggressive BJP. An element of one-upmanship in the party also contributed to taking the stand. 

Sabarimala is not tourist spot, Kerala police is doing wrong: Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala

Kerala Congress Leader Ramesh Chennithala has reportedly met Governor Palanisamy Sathasivam today explaining him the present situation at Sabarimala. Addressing a conference he said, Kerala police is doing wrong and under his governance their party members would have spoken to the devotees and no viloence would have caused. 

Third woman today wishes to climb hill shrine

A woman in her 40s from Kazhakootam near Trivandrum at Pamba has expressed her wish to climb the hill to the shrine, our correspondent Vishnu Varma has reported. The police are trying to reason with her and explaining her the security complications and chances of violence in case she proceeds towards the temple. The police has indirectly informed the woman that they cannot ensure security at the shrine, however, they have not stopped her. At present, the woman is at the police control room in Pamba. She would be the third woman today if she decides to climb the hill shrine.Kerala:

I will shut shrine if women climb up temple, says head priest of Sabarimala

Sabarimala chief priest Kantararu Rajeevaru said he will shut the shrine and hand over the keys to management if women of menstruating age climbed up the 18 steps to the temple. He said he had come to this decision in consultation with the Pandalam royal family. 

Read more| Will shut Sabarimala temple if women are allowed

(ANI photo)

Journalist, social activist begin descent from hill

Journalist Kavitha Jakkal and social activist Rehana Fathima, women who made an attempt to trek the hill shrine today morning, have begun their descent, fearing violence from protesters. They would take another 30 minutes to climb down the hill to Pamba, one of the base camps.  Both women managed to walk past 'Marakootam' along with the police which was also the spot where a woman journalist from New York Times was blocked yesterday. On her way to the temple yesterday, the NYT reporter faced stone pelting from protesters which resulted in her descent. 

Police detains BJP Pathanamthitta District President

BJP Pathanamthitta District President Hari who tried to sit in the middle of a road to protest has been detained by the police.

Hari informs, the social activist Rehana Fathima is the woman who was in the kiss of love protest has today attempted to climb Sabarimala. 'There are old women here that's why I cannot say the things she has done. Look up her fb profile and you will understand,' said Hari.

He further questioned why one of the women who climbed this morning went in police attire. 'This is a crude attempt by the CPM to destroy the beliefs of Hindus and Ayyappa devotees. We will never allow this to happen.'

(Express photo)

Watch: Woman faints while protesting vigorously

Protests start at Erumeli, police detains B Gopalakrishnan along with other BJP leaders

Protests start in Erumeli as well and some BJP leaders including B Gopalakrishnan has been detained by the police. Protesters outside Erumeli Dharma Shastha Temple

(Protesters outside Erumeli Dharma Shastha Temple. Express photos)

Men vandalise house of women rights activist who started climbing hill shrine today morning

Two men on a motorbike vandalised the house of social activist Rehana Fatima today at 8 am, says Chief Inspector Siby. Fatima is one of the women who started her climb to the Sabarimala temple this morning. 

(Express photos by Kiran Gangadhar/ IEMalayalam)

In pictures: Journalist, social activist on their way to Sabarimala temple

Govt must decide to either protect belief of devotees or implement agenda of few women: Congress leader Chennithala

"The govt must decide whether the beliefs of crores of devotees must be protected or to implement the agenda of a few women," says Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala.

He further said the govt must not lay the ground for BJP or RSS to exploit this situation. "We have been telling the govt from very early on not to take this situation lightly. Its a failure of police intelligence," says Chennithala. 

Sabarimala is not a place for activists to show thier strength: Kerala minister

Our reporter Shaju Philip quotes Kerala minister Kadakampally Surendran.

Police may return to base camp with two women as protesters wait ahead

Police intend to return to Pamba, one of the base camps, with the two women as they do not wish to engage in violence. The government does not want Sabarimala to be a site for activism.

While the government indicates that it does not intend to turn Sabarimala into a conflict zone.

Protesters block way ahead of two women climbing hill shrine

A large number of protesters wait at Nadapanthal, a few hundred metres away from Sabarimala temple, as two women, journalist Kavitha Jakkal and social activist Rehana Fatima, make their way towards it, according to Manorama, our correspondent Vishnu Varma reports.

Large police contingent under IG Sreejith have reached Nadapanthal and are face to face with the protesters.

IG Sreejith speaks to protesters,' I know you are devotees of Ayyappa. We are also devotees of Ayyappa. But we have been bound to follow and implement the law. You must allow us to implement the law'. One of the protesters' replies, 'We will not allow you to take young women to the shrine. We are ready to die for our Lord.' 

Many protesters have laid down on the road to block the police.

Two women trek to Sabarimala

Two women journalists have started her climb to the hill shrine this morning. Police led by IG S Sreejith have provided the reporters with a security ring. One of the women is ajournalist reportedly in her late 20s hailing from Hyderabad while the details of the second woman remain unknown, PTI reported.

Views of pilgrims and activists standing against SC's verdict

While TDB considers its options of tackling the present situation at Sabarimala, our correspondent Vishnu Varma present at the site, gives an account of pilgrims and activists' views. 

Among people who stand against the Surpeme Court's verdict, 43-year-old Jayarajan from Perinthalmanna in north Kerala questioned why all the energy is focused on Sabarimala. “Are all Supreme Court verdicts being followed? What about underpaid nurses in Kerala? Despite SC orders, why are their wages not hiked? What about the Jacobite Church row?” “Vishwasam aanu, athine thagarkkaruth (It’s a belief, don’t break it),” he said.

Read more| ‘Whatever Supreme Court says, men will be men and women will be women’

Some activists of Hindu Aikya Vedi expressed their displeasure with the media. One of them said, “Why is the media calling us Hindu terrorists? Are we terrorists? Why is the media hell bent on allowing young women into Sabarimala?”

ICYMI: Temple Board (TDB) and royal family of Pandalam had earlier failed to reach consensus over review petition

In order to bring peace to the hill shrine, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) on Thursday said it was ready to make a compromise which included to file a review petition in the Supreme Court.

The TDB and the royal family of Pandalam met Wednesday to discuss the ongoing protests and violence over Supreme Court's verdict related to the Sabarimala temple, however, the meeting went in vain as they failed to reach a consensus over filing a review petition in the apex court.

During the meeting, the royal family on Wednesday urged TDB to file a review petition in court, however, it met with a refusal from the temple board, which said it would continue the meeting today and consider the review petition as well.

Earlier to the protests and attacks on women, TDB had accepted the top court's judgment and vowed to abide by it, however, as the violence and agitation intensified, it decided to weigh its options.

Good morning! Welcome to our Live blog.  Read all the latest updates on the Sabarimala issue, a day after the 24-hour bandh.

Sabarimala devotee not in favour of women entering shrine, say 'there are many Lord Ayyappa temples where women can go and pray'

Lord Ayyappa is a 'Nithya Bramhachari', sanctity of the temple should be preserved: Sabarimala devotee

Sabarimala protests: Kerala Minister, BJP chief cross sword over audio tape

A row broke out in Kerala over an audio clip which urged Lord Ayyappa devotees to reach Sabarimala disguised as devotees and create trouble with a Minister targeting the BJP over it and the latter denying any link. State Devasowm (religious trusts) Minister Kadakampally Surendran played the audio clip at a press meet and alleged it was the attempt by Sangh forces and BJP to mobilise people at the Lord Ayyappa temple to create trouble over the raging issue of entry of women of all age groups.

Read full story

Case filed against devotees who pelted stones at NYT journalists today morning

A case has been registered against devotees who allegedly prevented the New York Times Delhi-based journalist from trekking and then forced her to climb down the hills today morning. The journalist later said she and her colleague decided to return after they were stopped by an "aggressive mob" which hurled stones at them. A stone hit her on the shoulder, she said. Police had said that they were ready to give her security but she decided to return because they didn't want "anybody to get hurt". 

MHA advisory to Kerala govt: Ensure peace in view of Sabarimala protests

Centre has asked the Kerala government to ensure peace across the state following protests against the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala temple, officials said. In an advisory, the Home Ministry said the maintenance of law and order, including providing security to women wishing to visit the temple, was the responsibility of the state government.

Police officers deployed to oversee security operations in Nilakkal and Pamba

Kerala Police has deployed three senior police officers to oversee the security operations in Nilakkal and Pamba, said state police chief Loknath Behera.

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Sabarimala hartal kerala Highlights: Hindu devotees stop a car to check if any women of menstruating age are headed towards the Sabarimala temple, at Nilakkal Base camp in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. (Reuters)

Sabarimala hartal Kerala Highlights

On the first day of its opening, not one woman was able to enter the Sabarimala temple as all were either returned or their vehicles were attacked along the way to the shrine.

Women agitating against the Supreme Court's verdict had blocked roads leading to the temple, stopping and checking vehicles to ensure no woman reaches Sabarimala.

Read| How Nilakkal, the Sabarimala base camp, descended into chaos

Madhavi, a 45-year-old woman from Andhra Pradesh was forced to retreat with her son and daughter by angry activists of the Ayappa Dharma Sena. Another woman travelling to Sabarimala was stopped at a bus stand and asked to return and a Tamil Nadu couple, aged 45 and 40 years, on their way to Pamba, were forced to get off a state transport bus allegedly by activists of the Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti.