Sabarimala opening: Temple doors opened amid attacks on journalists
Following the controversial Supreme Court verdict, the 800-year-old Sabarimala temple opened its gates to devotees on Wednesday at 5pm. Devotees can offer prayers till 10.30pm today and the temple will remain open for five days till October 22. The opening of the temple was accompanied by clashes between police and devotees, while several journalists from leading publications and TV channels were attacked. Here's more.
Backstory: The Supreme Court verdict that riled Ayyappa devotees
On September 28, a five-judge Constitutional bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra allowed women of all ages to enter the 800-year-old temple, overturning the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules, 1965 that banned menstruating women from entering. The bench observed that Rule 3(b) of the 1965 Rules were in clear violation of the right of Hindu women to practice religion as guaranteed by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.
Earlier in the day, police clashed with protesting devotees
Earlier in the day, police personnel clashed with protesting devotees in several of the base camps and small towns leading to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district. In several instances, protesters blocked women from approaching the temple. Many protesters also threatened to commit suicide or self-immolate to protest against the entry of menstruating women. Meanwhile, thousands of police personnel have been deployed.
Several journalists, TV crews heckled and attacked by angry mob
As the day went on and protests intensified, several female journalists who went to cover the opening of temple were stopped from carrying out their professional duties. Reporters Pooja Prasanna, Saritha S Balan, Radhika Ramaswamy, and Sneha Mary Koshy from Republic TV, The News Minute, News 18, and NDTV, respectively, were attacked and heckled by the mob, along with their TV crews.