Sabarimala temple to be opened today; police clash with protesters
With the Sabarimala temple set to open its doors to devotees for the first time since the Supreme Court verdict allowing women's entry, Kerala is in a tense situation. Police have already clashed with protesters opposing the entry of women of menstrual age to the hill shrine. Meanwhile, thousands of police personnel, including policewomen, have been deployed to maintain order. Here are the details.
Tension grips base camps, small towns leading to Sabarimala
Tension mounted in several base camps in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district as police clashed with protesters. Thousands of personnel were deployed across base camps, and in the base camp of Nilakkal, police demolished tents of protesters. Meanwhile, all small towns leading to Sabarimala remained tense, as protesters blocked women, and even threatened suicide and self-immolation as marks of protest. Temple doors will open at 5pm.
More protests and dharnas expected
Despite heavy police deployment, there's no sign of tensions decreasing. Reportedly, the tantri (supreme priest) family of the Sabarimala temple is set to lead a protest at Pambha, the first base camp to Sabarimala. Meanwhile, state BJP chief P S Sreedharan Pillai and right wing activist Rahul Iswar are set to start a dharna to protest against women's entry.
Protesters are inspecting incoming transport for young women
News agency PTI also reported that devotees were stopping both private and public transport and asking young women to get out. Additionally, some activists of the Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti group also stopped media people and reporters from carrying out their professional duties. The Sabarimala temple will remain open for five days, till October 22, after which it will be closed again.