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Sabarimala Temple LIVE Updates: Devaswom Board to Submit Report in SC, No Decision on Review Petition | October 19, 2018, 6:54 PM IST
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Sabarimala Temple LIVE Updates: Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has announced that it will file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups to the Sabarimala Temple. Amid massive protests, women have been trying to climb up the hill to Kerala's iconic shrine under high police cover since Friday morning.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury has compared the ongoing protests at the Sabarimala shrine against women’s entry to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. “This is the worst form of vote bank politics being played in the country at the expense of destroying social harmony. Those who want to enter cannot be stopped. The pattern in which the protests are happening is similar to the pattern of Babri Masjid demolition,” he said.
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Oct 19, 2018 6:54 pm (IST)

Situation at Pamba remained tense on Friday as police detained devotees protesting against the entry of women from all age groups into the Sabarimala shrine. 

Oct 19, 2018 6:41 pm (IST)

READ | Sabarimala Fanaticism, if not Controlled, Will Spread Like Viral Fever: Soli Sorabjee

Former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee urged the state of Kerala to take strict action against the so-called devotees for trying to stop the women pilgrims from entering the temple.

Oct 19, 2018 5:42 pm (IST)

Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde said in a tweet that the SC ruling has pushed “non-believers, paid activists, anti-Hindus & anarchists to play with Hindu religious beliefs and sentiments".  

Oct 19, 2018 4:58 pm (IST)

TDB President: We Do Not Want Sabarimala to Become a Protest Site | TDB president A Padmakumar says that they do not want Sabarimala to become a protest site. “We want peace. We do not want the Sabarimala to become a protest site.” The Devaswom president added that the board did not wish to politicise the issue. 

Oct 19, 2018 4:42 pm (IST)

Congress, BJP Attack Kerala Govt for Bringing Activists to Sabarimala | The opposition Congress and BJP have meanwhile flayed the the Left government in Kerala for allegedly extending support to bring women activists to Sabarimala temple, hurting the sentiments of devotees, PTI reported. They further alleged that the police gave one of the women, who climbed to the hill shrine amid heavy security, their official uniform and helmet. The two women, identified as a journalist from Hyderabad and a Kochi-based activist, trekked Sabarimala and reached a few metres away from the holy 18 steps with police escort but had to return due to massive protest by devotees.

Oct 19, 2018 4:31 pm (IST)

READ | Journalist, Kochi Woman Return from Brink of History After Top Sabarimala Priest's Ultimatum to 'Shut Shrine'

As the women neared the shrine, devotees at the temple blocked the entry gate in defiance of the Supreme Court verdict which had allowed women of all ages to enter and pray there.

Oct 19, 2018 4:08 pm (IST)

CPI (M)’s Kodiyeri Balakrishnan blamed the BJP for “causing hindrance” to the arrangements that were made by the state government following the SC verdict allowing the entry of women from all age groups into the Sabarimala temple. He added that the Congress was in favour of the entry of women of all age groups but now even they are protesting against it.

Oct 19, 2018 4:02 pm (IST)

SC Judgment Should be Implemented in Letter and Spirit: Soli Sorabjee | Former attorney-general Soli Sorabjee, while speaking to News18, says that the SC judgment on Sabarimala  should be implemented in letter and spirit. “Temple is open for all and the state should take strict action against so-called devotees for blocking the police from doing their duty. Otherwise this will give a bad name to India all over”.

Oct 19, 2018 3:27 pm (IST)

'An abode of Lord Ayyappa, not sex tourism':

Oct 19, 2018 3:26 pm (IST)

Yechury on Sabarimala | CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has said, "The pattern in which the protests are happening over the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple is similar to that of the pattern of Babri Masjid demolition of 1992." 

Oct 19, 2018 1:57 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Journalist, Kochi Woman Return from Brink of History After Top Sabarimala Priest's Ultimatum to 'Shut Shrine'

As the women neared the shrine, devotees at the temple blocked the entry gate in defiance of the Supreme Court verdict which had allowed women of all ages to enter and pray there.

Oct 19, 2018 12:38 pm (IST)

Leader of Opposition's sharp attack on the Kerala police:

Oct 19, 2018 12:36 pm (IST)

Another Woman Devotee's House Attacked | Protests erupt outside the house of 46-year-old woman devotee in Thiruvananthapuram. The woman had condemned the agitation against the entry of menstruating women from entering Sabarimala temple after deciding to retreat herself. This comes hours after another woman devotee's house in Kochi was vandalised by protesters for attempting to break the age-old tradition around women's entry.

Oct 19, 2018 12:23 pm (IST)

As 46-year-old Mary decided to return and not complete her attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple, she said, "It is sad that this is happening in Kerala. There are so many people who go abroad from Kerala, so many who live in progressive countries but look at what is happening in our state. It is the duty of the state govt, police and media to help women who want to go to Sabarimala."

Oct 19, 2018 12:07 pm (IST)

Another Menstruating Woman on Her Quest to Enter Sabarimala | As the two women (a journalist and a devotee) who were at the edge of creating history by stepping foot in the Sabarimala temple, decided to retreat, A 46-year-old woman is on her way to the holy shrine. With complete police protection, she is currently being taken to a police control room in Pamba.

Oct 19, 2018 11:59 am (IST)

"There have been so many Supreme Court orders that have still not been implemented. There have been instances where govt asked for more time. But this govt wants violence that's why they jumped into this": Ramesh Chennithala

Oct 19, 2018 11:56 am (IST)

Opposition Wants Action Against Kerala Police for Disrupting Temple Rituals | Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala has launched a scathing attack on the Kerala police. He said, "What is happening is very unfortunate. Priests having to stop their rituals to protest is unfortunate. Are these actually believers who are being escorted by police? A case should be filed against IG Sreejith. He has violated rules and laws."

Oct 19, 2018 11:26 am (IST)

"We were helpless. The head priest said that he will close the temple and that would have been a ritualistic disaster. we could have removed the protesters but the state government had ordered us not to. We will continue to provide security to devotees": Sreejith, Kerala IG

Oct 19, 2018 11:20 am (IST)

Sabarimala Head Priest, Kandararu Rajeevaru, has threatened to shut the temple if a single woman of menstruating age enters the shrine:

Oct 19, 2018 11:05 am (IST)

"I am happy with the arrangements that we got, but we have decided to come back," said the female journalist who trekked the hillock in order to break the age-old tradition by entering the inner santorium of the Sabarimala temple.

Oct 19, 2018 10:58 am (IST)

Women to Retreat | In the backdrop of threats made by the head priest of the Sabarimala temple to shut the doors of the shrine if any woman between the age of 10-50 enter, the female devotees, who were at the edge of creating history by stepping foot in the temple,  have decided to retreat. The women have decided to return to not cause hurdles in performing rituals.

Oct 19, 2018 10:46 am (IST)

In view of violent protests against the entry of menstruating women inside the precincts of the Sabarimala temple, IG S. Sreejith has put on his riot gear.

Oct 19, 2018 10:42 am (IST)

Head Priests Threatens to Shut Temple | Sabarimala Head Priest, Kandararu Rajeevaru, has threatened to shut the temple if a single woman of menstruating age enters the shrine. "If the women enter the temple we will stop all prayers and activities. We will be forced to shut the temple and I will walk out with the keys. The sentiments of the devotees can't be taken for granted. We are with the devotees." 

Oct 19, 2018 10:29 am (IST)

'Activists Should Not Come to Prove a Point' | Kerala Devaswom Board minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the holy shrine of Sabarimala is for the devotees of the revered Lord Ayyappa only and therefore, activists should not make the holy place of worship a platform to make a point. He further said that the Kerala government's duty is to give protection to true devotees wishing to visit the shrine.

Oct 19, 2018 10:24 am (IST)

To take stock of the situation, Kerala Governor K Sathasivam sought an update from Kerala police on the Sabarimala deadlock. Kerala DGP is scheduled to meet the Governor shortly.

Oct 19, 2018 10:11 am (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Bhagwat Sees Attack on Hindu Faith in Sabarimala Verdict, Vijayan Says it is a Temple for All Religions

The version of heads of religious denominations and faith of crores of devotees was not taken into account by the Supreme Court, said Bhagwat, nor was the plea by a large section of women, who follow this tradition, was heard.

Oct 19, 2018 10:00 am (IST)

Rahul Easwar was arrested on 17 October from Nilakkal base camp:

Oct 19, 2018 9:55 am (IST)

Woman Devotee's House Attacked | The woman devotee who is on her quest to enter the Sabarimala temple, is a native of Kochi in Ernakulam district. Her Kochi residence was attacked by protestors on Friday early morning. Meanwhile, protesters continue to onstruct entry of women at the entrance of the Sabarimala temple.

Oct 19, 2018 9:35 am (IST)

Leader of opposition in Kerala Ramesh Chennithala said, "This is nothing but sensationalism. Why does a devotee have to be taken to a temple in riot gear? CPI and BJP have ulterior motives." Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K. Surendran also questioned the intentions of the Kerala government for giving unprecedented security to one devotee/journalist.

Oct 19, 2018 9:32 am (IST)

Meanwhile, the temple Tantri family and members of the Pandalam royal family are considering closing down of the Sabarimala temple in order to stop the women from entering, according to informed sources. The temple opened its doors on Wednesday for the first time since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women from the 10-50 age group to enter the famed shrine. On Thursday, there was a dawn-to-dusk shutdown across Kerala called by outfits owing loyalty to Hindu groups and the BJP.

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Sabarimala Temple LIVE Updates: Devaswom Board to Submit Report in SC, No Decision on Review Petition
Image of Sabarimala: Protesters oppose the entry of women to the Sabarimala Temple, (PTI Photo)

A 46-year-old woman is the third one forced to abort the Sabarimala pilgrimage today in the face of vehement protests and an ultimatum by the chief priest to shut the shrine if any woman enters. The latest attempt, too, was undertaken under heavily police cover hours after a journalist and a devotee from Kochi managed to travel till 500 metres from the shrine. The chief priest of the shrine has said he will lock the temple and walk out if any woman enters the temple.

A large number of devotees blocked the young women and police team escorting them at Valiya Nadappandhal, the queue complex located a few metres away from the holy 'pathinettam padi' (the 18 sacred steps), leading to the sanctum sanctorum. The women were identified as a reporter from Hyderabad in her late 20s and an activist from Kerala. The devotees, including senior citizens and children, protested against the entry of women of menstrual age group into the hill shrine.

Tension was defused after the women agreed to return as the state government made it clear it did not want to take them to the Sannidhanam, the temple complex, by using force against the protesting devotees. The firm stand taken by the 'tantri' (head priest) that he would close the temple if the women were escorted into the sanctum sanctorum also persuaded them to return as per instructions of the police.

Though the women had earlier insisted they should reach the shrine, police later convinced them about the gravity of the situation and conveyed the stand taken by the government and the head priest. If they had reached the shrine, they would have been the first women from the menstruating age group to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala after the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

Inspector General S Sreejith, who led the police team escorting the women, later told reporters the women have expressed their willingness to go back. "The tantri has informed me that he will close the temple and go if the women enter the shrine complex. It was conveyed to the women and they have expressed their willingness to go back. We will give them protection in the same manner to climb down the hills," he said.

Devotees received his announcement with thunderous chanting of "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa". Earlier besides devotees, a group of "parikarmies", temple employees assisting priests in puja, also squatted on the holy steps and protested against taking the women to the shrine complex.

As the situation appeared to be going out of control with the protesters blocking the way sitting on the floor, Sreejith told them they were only implementing the law but there was no plan to go forward by hurting their sentiments. State Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who was in the state capital, told mediapersons that the government was not ready to use force and hurt the sentiments of devotees.

He also said that one of the women was later identified as an activist and holy Sabarimala was not a place to show their strength and activism. "The government has the duty and responsibility to implement the Supreme Court order and give protection to devotees but not for activists," Surendran said.

"Police should have examined the veracity and background of the women who came to trek to the shrine," the minister added. Madhavi, a devotee from Andhra Pradesh, and a New Delhi-based woman journalist were also forced to return following intense protests by devotees in the past two days.

Kerala has been witnessing massive protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple since the government decided to implement the apex court order. The devotees had intensified the agitation at the shrine complex and nearby areas including the base camps, Nilackal and Pamba, since the shrine was opened for the five-day monthly puja on October 17.

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