A protesting mob has blocked the path of 11 women who were being taken from Pamba to Sannidhanam at foothills of Sabarimala. In their quest to become the first women from the 10-50 age groups to pray at the Lord Ayyappa temple. Since, the Supreme Court overturned the centuries-old ban.
The women, members of the Chennai-based Manithi outfit, have been on the road since 5:20 am . They have refused to turn back without ‘darshan’.
The tension is likely to build up as 30 more women from the organization are on their way to Pamba to join their compatriots.
Protest In Various Places
Women, in the age group of 10-50 years, are traditionally bar from entering the Sabarimala temple. But the Supreme Court, through its September 28 landmark verdict, lifted the curb and permitted women of all age groups to offer prayers at the temple.
The women group reached Pamba at 3:30 am through the Idukki-Kambamedu route in Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Local television channels said they had to face protests at various places on their way.
Thilakavathi, another member in the group, said they would continue the protest till they could offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa.
“Priests of the local temple at Pamba did not cooperate with us. He declined to get our ‘irumudikettu’ (sacred offering to the God) ready as per custom. So we did it on our own. Selvi said, adding that more members of their outfit would reach the state soon to visit Sabarimala.
Of the 11 women, six carried the traditional irumudikettu. Which is mandatory to climb the pathinettam padi (holy steps leading to sanctum sanctorum).
Clad in the customary black dress, the women, led by Selvi, insisted on police protection to offer prayers at the shrine.
Meanwhile, pilgrims returning after offering prayers at the Sannidhanam could also see joining the protesters.
Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president A Padmakumar expressed a hope that no untoward incident would take place.
Anxiety had built up in and around Sabarimala temple for some days as the outfit had declared that a group of 50 women. All below the traditionally barred age of 50 years, would visit the shrine on Sunday.
Kerala had witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in the 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala Temple. Since ,the Kerala government implemented the September 28 verdict of the Supreme Court permitting women of all age groups there.
Over a dozen women have so far attempted to trek the holy hills.
Four trans women, who stops from proceeding towards the Lord Ayyappa temple citing security reasons. They offered prayers at the hill shrine under heavy police security earlier this week.
The Kerala High Court earlier this month appointed a three-member committee, vesting them with powers to oversee law and order. And other problems faced by pilgrims during the ongoing annual season
Women Taken to Nilakkal Police Station as Mob Blocks Path to Sannidhanam, 30 More to Reach Pamba Shortly