Update at 11:05 AM: The two women to return back to Pamba. They will not enter the temple.
Update at 10:50 AM:
Update at 9:08 AM: The devotees who have reached also have their rights. Please cooperate: Sreejith, IG appealing to the protester blocking the way of the two women to enter Sabarimala
Update at 9:01 AM: The two women reach Sabarimala entry point
Update at 8:34 AM: The two women are just 1 km away from the Shrine
Update at 8:34 AM: The protesters have assembled to block the path of women attempting to enter Sabarimala Temple
On day three of the Sabarimala temple opening, devotees continue to throng the hill, making the pilgrimage to the Ayyappa temple. Tension simmers as protesters continue to block women from entering the temple, irrespective of what the law says. Meanwhile, Kavitha, a woman multimedia journalist from Andhra Pradesh and another woman devotee have so far trekked 5 kms towards the temple with as many as 250 policemen escorting them. They have been given a three-ring protection by the cops. It seems that the women will be able to make it to the shrine as they are just a kilometre away from the temple gates.
Earlier on Thursday, Suhasini Raj, a Delhi based woman journalist with The New York Times, had reached Appachimedu. It was the closest to the shrine a woman in the age group of 15 to 50 has reached in the last 28 years, reports suggested. She left Pamba to reach Sabarimala on Wednesday and made it a quarter of the way to Sabarimala Temple before being blocked. Raj was verbally abused by pilgrims around her. She was blocked by protesters upon reaching the halfway point during the trek. Protesters blocked her path by lying down on the ground. Police had thrown a security ring around Raj accompanied by her colleague, a foreigner.
The doors to Kerala’s Sabarimala temple opened on Wednesday for the first time after the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the hilltop shrine, however, female devotees were halted by a wall of protesters who tried to intimidate journalists and locked horns with the police. The 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.
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. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) will hold a meeting on Friday to find a resolution to the Sabarimala row.