Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Sabarimala: Women devotees forced to turn back fearing violence

Hindu devotees and activists gather at a Shiva temple during a protests Hindu devotees and activists gather at a Shiva temple during a protests Credit ARUN SANKAR AFP
Leonard Rios | 18 October, 2018, 08:42

Hindustan Times via Getty Images Police escort a woman and her family after she was harassed by protesters while seeking the entry to the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala on October 17, 2018.

TV crew working for Arnab Goswami's Republic TV were allegedly attacked by protesters outside the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday as the gates for the temple opened. Ritu claimed she was heading for the temple on assignment and had no intention of entering the shrine, something that could have offended the religious sensibilities of Ayyappa devotees. "[The protesters] broke down the law and order to such an extent". More than 1000 Sangh activities chased her, shouting abuses and threats. A protesting group of devotees had been staging a sit-in chanting the Ayyappa mantra in the shelter in protest against the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

Rahul Easwar, an attorney for the temple, appealed to the female devotees not to enter the temple and give temple authorities until next week to file a petition for review with the Supreme Court.

Protesters opposing the Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all ages to enter the temple clashed with police, which resorted to baton-charge.

The OP van of a news channel has been attacked by the mob.

Police arrested 11 protesters when they tried to block the path of some females.

Police detain people protesting agianst the entry of women at Pampa. A mob of around 20 men reportedly forced Balan to exit the bus before kicking her, taking her photograph and calling her "derogatory names", the news site said.

Surya Devarchana was shown the doors of her office after she took to Facebook to announce her decision of visiting the temple.

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"I'm a reporter!" Ramaswamy can be heard yelling in Malayalam as devotees break her car's windshield.

"Stern action will be taken against anyone who prevents devotees from going to Sabarimala", he warned, and ruled out any rethink of his government's decision against seeking a review of the Supreme Court order. Koshy said that NDTV and other media organizations have gotten pushback for sending female reporters into the tense situation.

Another woman devotee, Liby, who got down at the Pathanamthitta bus stand and was to board a bus to Nilakkal, faced angry devotees who booed her. Female journalists have also been attacked.

The groups, that include Shiv Sena, a former ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, say the prohibition on women "of menstrual age" is required to appease the temple's chief deity, Ayyappan, depicted as a yoga-practising god considered eternally celibate by followers. "There is no question of gender here", she said in a post for NDTV. We don't mind waiting until we turn 50.

A huge roar would go up if they found someone.

Though older women and very young girls could be seen in the crowd, none of menstrual age was spotted.

He claimed to have the support of several "scientists" that concurred with the view that the "positive energy" in a temple can be polluted by the entry of menstruating women. They'd gathered around a fork in the road, blocking the road, looking for women of "menstruating age". They added that it was prejudiced against women and their right to worship.

Activist Meghna Pant told the AP that Lord Ayyappa's celibacy was not more important than the equality of women.

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