Protesting devotees stopped two women from visiting the Sabarimala temple on Monday.
The women, Bindu Hariharan of Kozhikode and Kanaka Durga of Malappuram, reached Pamba and started trekking to the hill shrine without police protection. However, police officers joined them after seeing protests from pilgrims. The women’s attempt to visit the shrine was halted one kilometre ahead of the shrine.
While being escorted to the temple by police, Bindu told reporters that they had not sought police protection. “As Indian citizens, we are bound to get protection from police. We do not need to solicit any police protection. Our rights as citizens cannot be denied on the ground that we are women. We are going to Sabarimala as part of our fight to protect democratic rights,’’ said Bindu, an advocate.
The path leading to the temple was blocked by a crowd of pilgrims, whose number kept increasing at the spot where the women were stopped.
The women came under pressure after BJP workers held a protest outside their houses.
As tension spread, CPM leader and Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “The women would have to return considering the protest by devotees. The police is trying to tell them to not visit the temple.’’
The women were later admitted to a hospital in Kottayam after they complained of uneasiness.
When they were being taken to the hospital, protesters threw eggs at the women.
Police have registered cases against 200 people in connection with Monday’s protest.
A Padmakumar, president of Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the Sabarimala temple, sought a probe into repeated incidents of young women trying to visit the temple.
“This is an attempt to mar the Mandal vilakku festival, which is slated for December 27,’’ he said.
Sabarimala Action Council, an umbrella outfit of about 40 Hindu organisations fighting against entry of women of all ages at the temple, Monday warned that the repercussions would be disastrous if there is an attempt to violate traditions at the temple.
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