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Sabarimala LIVE: Statewide Strike in Kerala Tomorrow Over Entry of Women Devotees in Shrine

News18.com | January 2, 2019, 2:23 PM IST
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Sabarimala LIVE Updates: Kochi and Thiruvanathapuram were among four places where protests erupted after two women devotees of menstruating age entered Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple on Wednesday, scripting history after the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry to women of all ages into the Lord Ayyappa shrine. Members of the BJP Mahila Morcha also tried to enter the Kerala secretariat and were taken away by the police. Latest reports said protesters had also attacked media personnel and demanded that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan resign.

The women — Bindu (42), a CPI(ML) activist from Koyilandy in Kozhikode district, and Kanakadurga (44), a civil supplies employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram — said that they began climbing the steps to Lord Ayyappa shrine around midnight and reached the temple at 3:45 am for darshan.
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Jan 2, 2019 2:17 pm (IST)

Statewide Bandh in Kerala Tomorrow | Sabarimala Karma Samiti has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala tomorrow to protest entry of two women into Lord Ayyappa shrine on Wednesday. The hartal will be held from 6 am to 6 pm. In addition, the BJP will hold protests across Kerala for the next two days.

Jan 2, 2019 1:58 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | 'Happy They Prayed at Shrine': Udit Raj is the First BJP MP to Back Women's Entry into Sabarimala

Becoming the first BJP minister to hail women's 'right to pray', Udit Raj said that there traditions like sati and dowry also, which cannot be upheld.

Jan 2, 2019 1:25 pm (IST)

Protesters Chase Away Journalists, Demand Kerala CM's Resignation | Protesters block and chase away a media personnel and a camera person in Thiruvanathapuram. The protesters are also demanding resignation of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan over entry of women devotees in Sabarimala shrine.

Jan 2, 2019 1:14 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | 'History Made': Twitter Cheers For the Women Devotees Who Entered Sabarimala Temple

By entering and praying at the holy shrine, Bindu and Kanakadurga became the first female pilgrims of menstruating age to have entered Sabarimala after the Supreme Court's landmark verdict last year.

Jan 2, 2019 1:01 pm (IST)

BJP MP Udit Raj Welcomes Women's Entry Into Sabarimala Shrine | Contrary to Bharatiya Janata Party's stand on Sabarimala Issue, BJP MP Udit Raj has hailed women devotees' entry into Sabarimala temple. "I am very happy that they have entered the shrine. There have been traditions of sati and dowry, should uphold that as well?" he questioned.

Jan 2, 2019 12:45 pm (IST)

BJP Leaders Mum on Sabarimala Issue | Reacting to women's entry into Sabarimala shrine, senior Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor said that politics should not be played over the issue. He refused to say anything beyond. Meanwhile, Union textile minister Smriti Irani and Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju refused to comment on the developments.

Jan 2, 2019 12:39 pm (IST)

Protests Erupt in 4 Kerala Cities | Widespread protests have broken in Kochi, Kottarakara, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. BJP Mahila Morcha members are protesting at Kerala Secretariat in the state capital against entry of Kanakadurga and Bindu into Sannidhanam on Wednesday. 

Jan 2, 2019 12:33 pm (IST)

Jaya Bachchan Hails Women's Entry Into Sabarimala | Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan has welcomed entry of women devotees into Sabarimala temple on Wednesday. "Congratulations to the women who made it, more to come and this is fantastic," she said.

Jan 2, 2019 12:24 pm (IST)

On December 24 last year, the two women had unsuccessfully tried to offer prayers at the shrine. The Lord Ayyappa temple had opened for the 22-day "Makaravilakku" festival on December 30, three days after the conclusion of the 41-day "mandala puja". Following the top court verdict allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at the shrine, the CPI(M)-led LDF government had decided to implement the verdict, which was strongly opposed by the main opposition Congress and the BJP.

Jan 2, 2019 12:23 pm (IST)

The women trekked to the hill a day after the state-sponsored 620 km-long human wall of women was formed Tuesday from Kasargode in the northern part of the state till the southernmost district of Thiruvananthapuram. Kanakadurga (42) and Bindu (42), wearing the traditional black dress, with their head covered, climbed the hill shrine at 3.45 am Wednesday. Police have provided security to the homes of the two women fearing possible protests.

Jan 2, 2019 12:13 pm (IST)

Two women in their 40s prayed at the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala on Wednesday, becoming the first female pilgrims of menstruating age to have achieved the feat after the Supreme Court overturned a traditional ban on women's entry last year. Here's a News18 Creative on women's 'right to pray'.

Jan 2, 2019 12:03 pm (IST)

Opposition leader and Kerala Congress member Ramesh Chennithala has supported Sabarimala thantri's decision to appeal to Supreme Court regarding entry to women in the shrine. "It is not a closed chapter as SC is to consider a review petition. It is absolutely right for the priests to close the temple and perform purification rituals," he said, slamming Kerala government for facilitating the entry.

Jan 2, 2019 11:56 am (IST)

Sources have told CNN-News18 that Kanakadurga and Bindu were under the custody of Kottayam SP. "It has to be probed how did they reach Sabarimala. The organisations that participated in the Women's Wall have to state their opinion," a source said.

Jan 2, 2019 11:54 am (IST)

The Kerala Police is looking into media reports that two women in their forties had entered the Sabarimala temple early on Wednesday, according to PTI. The police sources in Thiruvananthapuram, quoting DGP Loknath Behara, said details were being collected on the issue. Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) President A Padmakumar said he had no information about the two women offering prayers at the temple. TDB officials have been asked to view CCTV footage to verify their claim, he said.

Jan 2, 2019 11:47 am (IST)

Protests Against Kerala Ministers Over Sabarimala Issue | Devasom Board Minister Kadagampilly Surendran and Kerala state health minister and CPI(M) leader K K Shailaja were shown black flags by Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Guruvayur and Kannur, respectively.

Jan 2, 2019 11:42 am (IST)

Prominent writer N S Madhavan demanded to remove Sabarimala thanthri for "misogyny and serious contempt of court" after a row kicked off over women devotees' entry into the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday.

Jan 2, 2019 11:34 am (IST)

The Sabarimla head priest, Kandaru Rajeevaru, had earlier dismissed reports that the tantri family had planned to close down the Lord Ayyappa temple if young women entered it to offer prayers. He, however, appealed to the women, belonging to the age group of 10-50 who were restricted as per the centuries-old traditions of the shrine, not to come to Sannidhanam and create problem. "We have never said that the temple will be closed if women of the traditionally barred age group enter there. It is our duty and responsibility to carry out the monthly poojas and other rituals. We will not break the custom," Rajeevaru had said.

Jan 2, 2019 11:27 am (IST)

Watch the video released by women devotees, Kanakadurga and Bindu, of their trek to Sabarimala temple.

Jan 2, 2019 11:24 am (IST)

BJP Kerala general secretary MT Ramesh said that CM Pinarayi Vijayan had "desecrated Sabarimala temple". "The Bharatiya Janata Party will support any and every protest against the government in the state," he said.

Jan 2, 2019 11:22 am (IST)

Scriptwriter and activist Deedi Damodaran also welcomed the women's entry into Ayyappa temple. "History will be obliged to Kanaka and Bindu for proving that the Constitution is something that really exists. They have done it by risking their lives, daring to face the consequences. We all are obliged to them," she was quoted as saying by the Kerala-based news organisation.

Jan 2, 2019 11:18 am (IST)

Writer S Saradakutty told the Kerala-based newspaper that Kanakadurga and Bindu have preserved the self-esteem of women. "I have been thrilled, so much of happiness and excitement. I have goosebumps, what a happy news to welcome a new year. On Tuesday, we built the Women's Wall, it indeed turned out to be a fort. Even before we finished building the fort, we have done it. I have been watching these two women, Bindu and Kanaka for the courage they have, for their determination. They have preserved the self-esteem of women," she was quoted as saying.

Jan 2, 2019 11:13 am (IST)

Malayalam writer C S Chandrika told a Kerala-based newspaper that lakhs of women, who participated in Kerala government's 'Women's Wall', would be grateful to Bindu and Kanakadurga. "Personally what I feel is that the government was waiting to see the if the Women's Wall was a success or not. The government was waiting to gain support system through the Women's Wall. Lakhs of women who participated in the Wall will be obliged to Kanakadurga and Bindu," she was quoted as saying.

Jan 2, 2019 11:08 am (IST)

On December 24, the two women — 42-year-old Bindu from Koilandy and 44-year-old Kanakadurga from Angadipuram in Malappuram district — were stopped from entering the temple, as just as they were about to reach the sannidhanam, massive protests broke out. The protests erupted on Chandranandan road, which connects Marakootam and sannidhanam.

Jan 2, 2019 11:05 am (IST)

Kerala had witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in the 10-50 age group into the shrine after the CPI(M)-led LDF government decided to implement the apex court verdict allowing all women to offer prayers at the temple. The right-wing groups have been opposing the entry of young women, saying they are with the devotees. Four trans-women recently offered prayers at the temple while the attempt by over a dozen young women have been foiled by protesting devotees so far.

Jan 2, 2019 11:05 am (IST)

Security Stepped Up Outside Women Devotees' Residences | A team of Kerala police has been deployed outside the women's residences, fearing agitation. The women had last year also attempted to trek to Sannidhanam, but were forced to return due to protests. Eleven other women activists of a Chennai-based outfit were prevented from reaching the shrine and chased away by devotees chanting Ayyappa mantras.

Jan 2, 2019 10:59 am (IST)

RSS ideologue and BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh hit out at media for terming the devotees' trek as "historic". "Remember that Aurangzeb , Genghis Khan, Jai Chand were also part of history . For what do people remember them? Shame on you (media)," he said.

Jan 2, 2019 10:55 am (IST)

Sabarimala 'Desecrated'? Asks Amit Malviya | BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya questioned if Kerala government had "desecrated" the shrine. "Have the Communists desecrated Sabarimala shrine by facilitating entry of women of restricted age group into the temple? Devastating, if true," he tweeted.

Jan 2, 2019 10:54 am (IST)

Sabarimala Shut Tilll 11:30 am for 'Purification' | The Sabarimla head priest, Kandaru Rajeevaru, has ordered to shut the temple till 11:30 am for purification rituals after reports of women's entry into the temple were confirmed. Reacting to the development, Pandalam erstwhile royal Shashi Verma said that the women's entry into Sannidhanam was not historic, but against the customs of Sabarimala. "Customs of the temple should be maintained. We are not in the favour of changing rituals, he said, adding that the temple will have to be "purified". Soon after Verma's statement, the shrine doors were shut for pilgrims and priests began conducting "shuddhi kalasham" (purification ritual).

Jan 2, 2019 10:52 am (IST)

Devotee Kanakadurga Says They Went Without Police Protection | Speaking to CNN-News18, Kanakadurga said they completed their pilgrimage without police protection and were not met by any protesting devotees, who have foiled similar attempts by women in the past. “We arrived in Pamba at midnight. We went to the police station, but went ahead with our trek without police protection. We reached Sannidhanam and also went up the sacred steps. We did not face any protests from any quarters. Only devotees were present at Sannidhanam and they did not block us or question us,” she said.

Jan 2, 2019 10:49 am (IST)

CM Pinarayi Vijayan Confirms Women's Entry | After the duo released a video of their visit, CM Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the devotees prayed at the temple. "There were protests earlier, but today two women entered Sabarimala shrine. We have given a standing order to police to provide all possible protection to any woman who wants to enter the temple," he said.

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Sabarimala LIVE: Statewide Strike in Kerala Tomorrow Over Entry of Women Devotees in Shrine
Protests erupted in Kerala after two women of menstruating age entered the Sabarimala shrine.

After the duo released a video of their visit, CM Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the devotees prayed at the temple. "There were protests earlier, but today two women entered Sabarimala shrine. We have given a standing order to police to provide all possible protection to any woman who wants to enter the temple," he said.

The move, however, did not go down well with the devotees, with Sabarimala head priest Kandaru Rajeevaru ordering that the temple be shut till 11.30am for ‘purification’ rituals. Pandalam erstwhile royal Shashi Verma said that the women's entry into Sannidhanam was not historic, but against the customs of Sabarimala. "Customs of the temple should be maintained. We are not in the favour of changing rituals, he said, adding that the temple will have to be "purified".

Expressing his dissatisfaction with the move, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya questioned if the Kerala government had "desecrated" the shrine. "Have the Communists desecrated Sabarimala shrine by facilitating entry of women of restricted age group into the temple? Devastating, if true," he tweeted.

RSS ideologue and BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh hit out at media for terming the devotees' trek as 'historic'. "Remember that Aurangzeb, Genghis Khan, Jai Chand were also part of history. For what do people remember them? Shame on you (media)," he said. Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala slammed the state government for facilitating the women’s entry in Sabarimala, saying the priests were right in closing the temple for purification rituals.

The issue also saw some protests, with Devasom Board minister Surendran and minister Shailaja being shown black flags in Guruvayyur and Kannur respectively. Meanwhile, a team of Kerala police has been deployed outside the women's residence, fearing backlash.

The women had last year also attempted to trek to Sannidhanam, but were forced to return due to protests. Eleven other women activists of a Chennai-based outfit were prevented from reaching the shrine and chased away by devotees chanting Ayyappa mantras.

Kerala had witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in the 10-50 age group into the shrine after the CPI(M)-led LDF government decided to implement the apex court verdict allowing all women to offer prayers at the temple.
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