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Rain Halts Dalit Leader's Sabarimala Trek, Cops May Take Her Today if She Passes 'Background Check'

Embarking on the journey, the woman had clarified that she had come to the Lord Ayyappa shrine as a devotee and not as an activist.

News18.com

Updated:October 21, 2018, 7:01 AM IST
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Rain Halts Dalit Leader's Sabarimala Trek, Cops May Take Her Today if She Passes 'Background Check'
Women opposed to the entry of female pilgrims scan vehicles at Nilackal, a base camp on the way to Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. (AP)
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Sabarimala: Four days after the doors of the Sabarimala temple were opened following the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter, a sixth women arrived at Pamba, attempting to enter the temple on Saturday. However, she was told that no police protection will be provided to her until a background check is completed to determine if she was an ‘activist.’

The woman, who is the general secretary of a Kerala-based Dalit outfit, had to halt her historic trek for the day because of heavy rains in the region. She would now resume the pilgrimage on Sunday under heavy police protection, provided she passes the ‘background check’. According to sources, certain cases are registered against the woman.

Embarking on the journey, the woman had clarified that she had come to the Lord Ayyappa shrine as a devotee and not as an activist. As reports of yet another woman attempting to make it to the shrine reached devotees at the temple, they again trooped to the entry point. Protesting devotees also lined the trekking path to the hilltop.

The protesters and priests have not let any woman between the ages of 10 and 50 pray at the temple since its iron gates opened for monthly prayers on October 17, despite the Supreme Court ruling in favour of women’s entry in a landmark judgement late last month.

The devotees went into a tizzy earlier on Saturday after rumours that a woman below 50 years of age was attempting to climb the 18 holy steps. The situation turned tense and section 144 was clamped in the area. The woman, who had travelled with her family from Tamil Nadu, was finally allowed in after she convinced the protesters that she was above 50 years.

The Sabarimala temple complex had witnessed high drama and tense moments Friday when two women reached the hilltop with heavy police escort, but had to return before reaching the sanctum sanctorum following massive protests by devotees and an ultimatum by the chief priest to lock the temple if any woman entered. Groups and political parties opposed to women's entry had claimed that one of the two women was an activist and said the temple was no place for "activism".

Kerala has been witnessing massive protests against the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple since the government decided to implement the apex court order.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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