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Sabarimala Temple Protests LIVE: Devaswom Board Chief says ‘Ready To Compromise’ if Stir is Called Off | October 19, 2018, 6:54 PM IST
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Sabarimala Temple Protests LIVE Updates: In what could be seen as a breakthrough in the ongoing Sabarimala protests, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president A Padmakumar has said that board is willing to file the review petition if protesters call off their agitation. "We're ready to compromise. Will the protesters call off agitation if the board files review petition? Padmakumar said on Thursday evening.

"Board is free to take independent decisions. It can take a call on review petition as well," Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran 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 Protests LIVE:  Devaswom Board Chief says ‘Ready To Compromise’ if Stir is Called Off
Police lathicharge protestors after they opposed the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala on Wednesday. (PTI)

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has blamed the protests against women’s entry into the Lord Ayyappa shrine on the RSS, saying encouraging such agitation would lead to “banishment of backward classes from places like Sabarimala”. It’s been more than 20 hours since the temple gates opened for the first time since Supreme Court allowed women of menstrual age the right to pray at the shrine, but no woman has been able to even reach the 18 steps let alone enter the sanctum sanctorum.

New York Times journalist Suhasini Raj tried to make the journey this morning, but had to turn back midway after being attacked by angry male devotees. Raj returned to Kochi under police protection. Speaking to CNN-News18, she lauded the efforts of the Kerala Police and said they were ready to deploy additional forces, but she decided against a fresh attempt. She was the third woman to be turned back by protesting devotees since gates of Lord Ayyappa temple opened last evening for monthly prayers. The protesters are stopping women journalists too from embarking on the trek to the temple.

A 24-hour bandh called by Pravin Togadia’s Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad and Sabarimala Samrakshana Samithi, an outfit of devotees, has also begun taking effect in Kerala. Buses run by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) have reportedly been pelted with stones in Kozikode, Cherthala and Aatingal.

The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala had opened its iron gates on Wednesday for the first time since the Supreme Court allowed women of menstrual age to enter the shrine but none from the "banned" age group could make it to its hallowed precincts amid a welter of protests and violent clashes.

Authorities have imposed Section 144 at Sannidhanam, Pamba, Nilakkal and Ilavunkal, but the prohibitory orders are being violated as protesters under the gathering under the guise of being devotees.

CNN-News18 crew covering the Sabarimala protests was 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 at 5pm.

Women journalists from other organisations too were heckled and their vehicles smashed. Most of the attacks began in the form of "vehicle checks" by protesters to ensure that young women are not inside. Chaos and mayhem ruled supreme on the road leading from Nilakkal to Pamba in the foothills from where the devotees start the arduous trek to Sabarimala, as activists of Hindu fringe groups fought pitched battles with police, leaving many injured and bleeding.

Angry over Kerala's Left Front government's decision not to file a review plea against the Supreme Court's September 28 landmark order, protesters pelted police with stones. The police too responded with batons, leaving many fallen and writhing in pain on the road.

Several protesters were seen being bundled into police vehicles, while siren blaring ambulances carried some to hospitals. At least 10 people from the media, including reporters and photojournalists, were injured and equipment of several of them damaged, senior minister EP Jayarajan said.

Unfazed by the unfolding violence, Madhavi, a gutsy woman from Andhra Pradesh in her 40s, tried to climb the Sabarimala hills to reach the Lord Ayyappa temple, but was forced to return to Pamba, menaced by agitated male devotees, reported PTI.

Both the Congress, the main opposition party in Kerala, and the BJP, which is desperately seeking to expand its footprint in the state, have lent support to the agitation against the Supreme Court verdict.

State Congress working president K Sudhakaran led his party workers in a protest at Nilakkal to express solidarity with Ayyappa devotees.

An embattled Left Front government reacted sharply to the protests, with the state's religious trusts minister Kadakampally Surendran calling them "politically motivated".

Surendran, who reviewed the situation and preparations for the three-month-long Mandalam-Makaravilakku-festival beginning November 17 at Sannidhanam (Sabarimala temple complex), said the government would tackle the agitation politically.

"The BJP-RSS are trying to create tension and destroy the peaceful atmosphere in Kerala for political gain. We know the agenda of the RSS and BJP very well," he said, and insisted the government did not want any confrontation with believers.

The BJP rejected the allegation, saying the government was responsible for the "collapse" of law and order.

Party leader and MP V Muraleedharan said the government should shed its stubbornness and respect the sentiments of the people of Kerala.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala blamed both the ruling CPI(M) and the BJP-RSS combine for violence.

Even as streets in Nilakkal and Pamba erupted in tumult, thousands of bare-chested Ayyappa devotees waited patiently in the vast concourse outside Sabarimala for its gates to open at the appointed hour: 5 pm.

Carrying "Irumudikettu" (the sacred bundle containing ghee-filled coconuts they offer to the deity), they calmly walked past security personnel to take their place in the long queue where they would wait for hours on end for a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa.

Though older women and very young girls could be seen in the crowd, none of menstrual age was spotted.

"No girl or woman in the age group of 10 and 50 has so far visited Sannidhanam (the temple complex) so far," a senior official of the Travancore Devaswom Board, the body which manages the shrine, told PTI wishing not to be named.

The shrine will remain open for the 5-day monthly pooja during the Malayalam month of Thulam before being closed on October 22.

The Pathanamthitta district authority has promulgated prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC banning assembly of four or more people in strife-torn Pamba and Nilakkal following Wednesday's violence and a strike called by right wing outfits.

The BJP and its NDA partners have backed a 12-hour 'hartal' called by Sabarimala Action Council to protest the police action against devotees. The Congress said it would not join the strike but hold protest demonstrations across the state on Thursday.
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