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Sabarimala temple row: High voltage drama erupts as two women reach hilltop but return due to protests

On Thursday, a New Delhi-based woman journalist was stopped midway by devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: October 19, 2018 18:31 IST ]

Journalist Kavita (Left) and activist Rehana Fatima (Right)

 

Two women on Friday started trekking to Sabarimala hill amid strong protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa temple. However, they had to return after holding discussions with police, who "explained them the entire situation." Despite Supreme Court lifting the ban on entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa temple, no one from that age group could get entry into the shrine on second consecutive day on Thursday. A New Delhi-based reporter of a foreign media outlet made a bid to visit the shrine on Thursday, but she had to return midway. 

Here are the highlights:

06:00 PM: Former Karnataka Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that "we should all bow down to the Supreme Court's decision on women's entry into the Sabarimala temple as per the Constitution."

04:59 pm:  Requesting all stakeholders for a meeting, the Kerala Devaswom Board President A Padmakumar said that the "situation is serious" and that the board has decided to prepare a detailed report and approach the Supreme Court. "We will file a report with High Court," Padmakumar added. 

"Sabarimala should not be used as a hot bed for politics... We want peace... we don't want Sabarimala to be a protest site..." Padmakumar said, adding that the board is determined to end the standoff. 

3:44 pm: 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.

3:22 pm: This is agenda driven. Police is also involved in it...This is not a place for sex tourism. This is the abode of lord Ayappa: Prayar Gopalakrishnan, former Travancore Devaswom Board President

2:20 pm: 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.

 

1:20 pm: 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.

12:23 pm: We met the Governor & explained to him the current situation. Not only Hindus but people from all religions are going there. Everyone is worried. The woman activist (Rehana Fatima) was given a police uniform. It was wrong: Ramesh Chennithala, Congress #SabarimalaTemple #Kerala

12:22 pm: The house of woman activist Rehana Fatima in Kochi was vandalised by unidentified miscreants earlier today. She had gone up to the Sabarimala Temple this morning under police protection & returned midway after a meeting with Kerala IG.

12:10 pm: Mary Sweety has been taken to a police control room. 

12:08 pm: A woman devotee Mary Sweety returned midway after she was stopped by protesters at Pamba; says "I don't know about them ((journalist Kavitha Jakkal & woman activist Rehana Fatima). If women have returned, it is your drawback. I want to go there." 

11:43 am: It's a ritualistic disaster. We took them up to temple & gave them protection but 'darshan' is something which can be done with consent of priest. We will give them (journalist Kavitha Jakkal&woman activist Rehana Fatima) whatever protection they want: Kerala IG S Sreejith 

11:42 am: We had brought them ((journalist Kavitha Jakkal and woman activist Rehana Fatima) till temple premises but tantri and priest refused to open temple for them. While we were waiting, tantri informed me that if we attempt to take the women ahead they would close the temple: Kerala IG 

11:30 am: We had brought them ((journalist Kavitha Jakkal&woman activist Rehana Fatima) till temple premises but tantri&priest refused to open temple for them. While we were waiting, tantri informed me that if we attempt to take the women ahead they would close the temple: Kerala IG 

11:20 am: We have decided to lock the temple and handover the keys & leave. I stand with the devotees. I do not have any other option: Kandararu Rajeevaru, Sabarimala Temple head priest

11:10 am: Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima are now returning from Sabarimala. Kerala IG says "We have told the female devotees about the situation, they will now be going back. So we are pulling pack. They have decided to return"

10:51 am: People of all ages will be allowed to go there. But at the same time we won't allow it to be a place where activists can come&showcase their power. It can't be a place where they prove certain points of theirs: State Devaswom (religious trusts) Minister

10:49 am: There are some people like activists trying to enter. It's impossible for govt to figure out who is who. We know there are 2 activists. One is believed to be a journalist as well: Kadakampally Surendran, State Devaswom (religious trusts) Minister

10:37 am: Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima move to the office where the two have been called by Inspector General S Sreejith at Pathanamthitta

India Tv - Sabarimala protest

Sabarimala protest

India Tv - Sabarimala protest

Sabarimala protest

10:25 am: Two women 200 meters away from shrine, police decide against using force to disperse protesters

10:05 am: PM Modi lands at Shirdi airport

10:00 am: Police make an appeal to the protesters to allow them to offer prayers

09:45 am: The journalist is reportedly wearing the riot gear. The other woman is wearing a helmet

09:40 am: The two women, marching ahead under police protection, few hundred metres from the shrine now

09:25 am: Police will not create any issue in Sabarimala and we don't want a confrontation with you devotees. We are only following the law. I will be discussing with the higher authorities and brief them on the situation: Inspector General S Sreejith

09:00 am: Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima are on way to the Sabarimala Temple.

08:40 am: The identity of the second woman is not immediately knowm: PTI

08:35 am: Another woman, carrying Irumudikkettu (holy bundle), also starts climbing the hill shrine: PTI

08:20 am: “No woman between 10-50 years of age will enter here. We are protecting Sabarimala,” say protesters

08:15 am: The woman is in her late 20s and if she climbed the hills, she would be the first woman from the menstruating age group to visit the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa after the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine

08:10 am: Hyderabad-based woman journalist begins climbing Sabarimala hill

07:30 am: Protests continue against the entry of women of all age groups in Sabarimala temple, according to news agency ANI

Watch: Sabarimala row: Two women begin climbing hill shrine under police proection

Police have thrown a security ring around the woman who had requested security to go to Sabarimala Sannidhanam to carry out her professional duty.

On Thursday, the New Delhi-based woman journalist was stopped midway by devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

The journalist accompanied by her male colleague, a foreigner, descended the hills from Marakkoottam area in the face of mounting protests.

A case has been registered against devotees who allegedly prevented her trekking and forced her to climb down the hills.

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