Scores of protesters, including women and various right-wing organisations, have been camping in Nilackal town to protest against the SC decision to allow entry of women inside the temple.
Ugly scenes erupted as mobs surrounded and attacked the cars of female journalists. "This has to be followed", said one of the women protesters who obstructed two female journalism students travelling to Pamba to cover the protests.
Chennai: A woman devotee hailing from Kollam district in Kerala was sacked from her job in a private firm after she announced her proposed pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple, which opened its doors to females of menstruating age from Wednesday following a Supreme Court order last month.
The fundamentalist Hindu Shiv Sena party, a staunch ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led federal government, backs the campaigners.
Kerala's state government insisted it would enforce the court ruling and ensure free access to the remote complex, reached by an uphill trek that takes several hours.
In a similar manner, News 18 reporter Neethu Reghukumar was heckled by angry protesters on Tuesday night and the media organisation's auto was attacked after she questioned the Kerala government over its promise on the safety of women devotees. As soon as she arrived at the bus terminal, police formed a protective ring around her and escorted her to a safe place. She was taken to the Nilackal police station, where she had to wait a long time as a mob had gathered outside.
Nilakkal, Oct 17 (DC): Tension prevailed Wednesday morning in Kerala's Nilakkal, the main gateway to Sabarimala, after the police used force to disperse devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.
Activist and Tantri family member Rahul Eashwar, who is leading the protest, was told by Additional Director General of Police Anil Kanth that laws should not be broken.
"No one should be able to change the way this temple has functioned for centuries", he said.
But many conservative Hindu devotees resented what they considered a secular intrusion into ancient religious practices.
"When democracy and the Supreme Court order are being defied by protesters, I have come with the firm intent of visiting Sabarimala", Libi, who uses only one name, told the media. We had many such wrongful traditions. India's Supreme Court lifted the ban last month, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender.
Traditionalists opposed to the entry of women forcibly turned back a woman from Andhra Pradesh and another who tried to make it to the temple.
According to TDB, which manages over 1,200 temples in the state, 35 million visited the temple past year during a three-month season beginning November.
The police had evicted the protestors who were staging a demonstration in Nilakkal on the Sabarimala issue. They were outraged by the Sabarimala temple chief's statement that he would allow women to enter only after a machine was invented to detect if they were "pure" - meaning that they weren't menstruating.