Even as the Supreme Court’s order allowing women of all ages to enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala is yet to be implemented following resistance and violent protests from devotees and various fringe groups, the situation is likely to worsen again after a group of 12 women from Chennai left for hill shrine Saturday evening.
Led by 42-year-old lawyer Selvi, who is part of Chennai-based women rights organisation ‘Manithi’, the group, which includes three activists, will meet another group of 15 women from Kerala Sunday before beginning their journey to the temple.
Talking to The Indian Express before leaving Chennai, Selvi said that 15 women will join their group from Kottayam.
“We contacted the office of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with a request for protection. An officer of the rank of deputy-secretary contacted us later and assured protection. We also had talks with the office of Kerala DGP. The Kerala police have promised to help us,” she said.
Selvi confirmed that the three activists in the group will not climb the 18 steps to the sanctum sanatorium as it could hurt the sentiments of believers.
“But the other nine devotees, who have followed rituals ahead of the trip, will visit the shrine,” she said, adding “Our plan is to go to Nilakkal and Pamba first, and from there we hope to take help of the police to reach the shrine.”
Superintendent of Police Rahul R Nair, who is currently posted in Sabarimala to monitor the law and order situation, said the police force is aware of the visit. “We are bound to implement the apex court’s order. We will give them protection.”
A senior police officer at Pathanamthitta district near Sabarimala said that the government has directed the police force to ensure there is no violence.
Meanwhile, Hindu fringe groups in Kerala and Tamil Nadu including Hindu Aikya Vedi have declared that they will prevent the entry of women in the shrine and that the group will be stopped at Kottayam itself.