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Sabarimala Opening LIVE Updates: Section 144 to be Imposed from Midnight at Four Places Near Temple | October 19, 2018, 6:54 PM IST
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Sabarimala temple opening latest news: Amid violent protests and tightened security, the doors of Sabarimala temple opened a little before 5pm on Wednesday. Section 144 will be imposed in four places near the iconic shrine, including Pamban and Nilakkal

Several teams of journalists were attacked by the protesters. CNN-News18 crew covering the Sabarimala protests was also attacked by a mob at the Nilakkal base camp, the main gateway to the hill shrine, in a cowardly tactic designed to intimidate women devotees ahead of the temple’s opening.
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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 Opening LIVE Updates: Section 144 to be Imposed from Midnight at Four Places Near Temple
Sabarimala: Melsanthi Unnikrishnan Nampoothiri opens the Sabarimala temple for the five-day monthly pooja on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The anti-women protesters surrounded the car in which News18’s reporter Radhika Ramaswamy was travelling and abused her verbally, asking her to turn back. Even as cops at the spot looked on, more protesters joined in. They tried to pull her out, attacked the car, broke the window panes and hit the vehicles with sticks. The goons also vandalised the camera equipment that the crew was carrying.​

Two women who tried to enter the Sabarimala shrine on Wednesday were also stopped by angry devotees as Kerala remained on the edge over protests against the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry into the shrine to women of all age groups.

Madhavim, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, and Libi, a journalist from Kerala, dared to break the centuries-old custom and enter the temple but were forced to turn back.

Tension prevailed in Kerala’s Nilakkal, the main gateway to Sabarimala, on Wednesday after police used force to disperse devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age.

Acting tough, the police removed a makeshift shelter erected by a protesting group named Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti. However, within a few hours, the group was back at the spot, chanting Ayyappa mantra in protest against the Supreme Court order. They also detained activist Rahul Easwar, who is spearheading the protests against the Supreme Court verdict.

Hours ahead of opening of the hill shrine for the monthly prayer, police said they would not let anyone block the movement of devotees. Taking full control of Nilakkal, police also warned against those who create hurdles in the ways of pilgrims to the hill shrine.

The situation on the ground, however, seemed to belie the claims of the police. Angry demonstrators pelted stones at vehicles after cops did not allow them to carry a search operation and stop women in the 10-50 age group from entering the shrine.

Women cops, too, faced backlash from protesters, who questioned their deployment. Three female police personnel were stopped by Easwar and his supporters at Pamba. A bus carrying police personnel was also stopped by the protesters.

As the protesters resorted to violence, Kerala Police baton chargeed them at Nilakkal. In retaliation, the mob pelted stones at cops.

The former Travancore Devaswom Board president and the wife of Kandararu Maheshwararu Tantri were taken into police custody at Pamba for protesting against the Supreme Court verdict and 50 people were booked for trying to attack a journalist. Around 500 police personnel, including women, have been deployed to ensure a safe passage to the pilgrims to the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The shrine located on the mountain ranges of the ecologically fragile Western Ghats will open at 5pm for the first time after the recent Supreme Court. The temple will be closed on October 22 after the five-day monthly prayer during the Malayalam month of Thulam.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said no one would be allowed to block devotees from proceeding to Sabarimala.
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