Amid high tensions in Kerala, Sabarimala temple opens its gate on Wednesday to allow women of all ages in the age group 10-50 and other devotees to enter the temple in accordance with the Supreme Court judgement.
The Lord Ayyappa shrine will open at 5pm today for monthly rituals for the next five days.
Nilakkal, the main gateway over 20 kms away from Sabarimala main shrine, saw scores of protestors opposing the entry of women. At Nilakkal and Erumeli base camps, protestors including women were seen checking cars and buses to stop women.
Thousands of security personnel including women officers have been deployed to prevent the temple from turning into battleground.
Inspector-General Manoj Ibrahim said, “Police will do everything to provide security to those who wish to go to Sabarimala – men and women of all ages. All the buses, cars carrying both men & women will be allowed to go to Pamba and anyone who tries to stop them will be taken into custody.”
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned those preventing devotees from entering the temple. “We will ensure security to all. Nobody will be allowed to take law into their hands. My government will not allow any violence in the name of Sabarimala.”
Various right-wing protestors and women protestors have been agitating against the entry of women set up a camp which was removed by the police. BJP leader Shobha Surendran protested the police action on devotees, near Pamba. “If the government is trying to suppress the protests using police, the BJP will stand with the devotees,” she warned the police and the government.
The Shiv Sena recently threatened if women of menstrual age were allowed into the temple they will perform mass suicide.
Both BJP and Congress in Kerala have been questioning the government’s decision to not file a review petition turning it into a political controversy.