The Sabarimala Temple has opened its doors for women aged 10-50 for the first time on Wednesday even as protests against the entry of women devotees turned violent. Earlier in the day, clashes erupted as protesters tried to stop women from entering into the temple. The surrounding areas of Nilakkal and Pamba witnessed numerous charges by both protesters, and belatedly, by the police.
In the video accessed by Republic TV, Kerala Police was seen vandalising vehicles parked in Pamba and Nilakkal, the base camps of Sabarimala pilgrimage. Police personnel armed with lathis and shields damaging vehicles parked near the camp area.
Meanwhile, DGP Lonknath Behera said that 700 additional police personnel were deployed to maintain law and order and ensure the safety of devotees proceeding to the temple.
“At least 700 armed police personnel, 100 of them women, are already placed in various locations. A team of commandos will also be deployed soon,” he had said.
Sabarimala temple gates open:
Sabarimala temple gates open amid protests with no women in the menstruating age group in the queue. The devotees can offer prayers till 10.30 pm today. The portals remain open till 22nd October.
Devotees climb Pathinettam Padi to enter Sabarimala:
Section 144 declared in 4 areas including 2 base camps:
After the violence, Section 144 was declared in four areas including two base camps:
Female reporters attacked near Sabarimala temple:
Earlier in the day, mobs had a free run, performing searches on buses for women, blocking their passage, intimidating and unleashing terrifying attacks on women journalists.
Republic TV's South Bureau Chief Pooja Prasanna was among those who were attacked. As many as 100 men surrounded her car, shoved their faces into every transparent surface, shouted obscenities and stole the equipment. Even when Pooja sat inside a police van, with nearby police personnel also quaking in their boots, their lathis snatched away by the mob. Women protesters ambushed her, grabbed her throat and hit her. News Minute's Saritha Balan also faced physical violence at the hands of a mob and recounted the tale to Republic TV, the description of the abuse and kicks she faced positively spine-chilling.
The protestors have stated their intent to keep it going for the entire duration, following which they want a review petition to be heard by the Apex court.