Pamba: Amid the intense ongoing row over the entry of women, Kerala’s Sabarimala temple will close its gates for visitors on Monday, at the end of the monthly puja. The Lord Ayappa shrine opens for five days in a month.
Last month, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on entry of women in the menstrual age group of 10 – 50 years of age, sparking a widespread protest among the devotees of Lord Ayyappa.
Monday is the sixth day since the temple gates were opened for the monthly puja after the top court last month lifted the centuries-old ban.
At least six women were prevented from the entering the Sabarimala temple by the Ayyappan devotees on Sunday. A 47-year old woman reached up to the ‘Nadappandhal’ close to the sanctum sanctorum but was prevented by the devotees chanting “Swamiye Saranam Ayyapa” while five others were stopped en route to the hills.
A heavy flow of pilgrims was witnessed at the temple despite intermittent downpour lashing the hills and Pamba over the last few days.
Activist Rehana Fathima, who attempted to enter the temple on Friday was been expelled from the Muslim community for “hurting the sentiments of lakhs of Hindu devotees”.
CPI(M) politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai claimed the devotees opposing the top court verdict were in a minority and they did not have the support of the entire Kerala society.
Meanwhile, the Sabarimala Karma Samithi intensified its agitation against the CPI(M)-led government’s “hasty” move to implement the court order.
Thousands of people participated in the “namajapa yatra” (protest march chanting Ayyappa mantra) to police stations across the southern state against alleged police action on the samithi activists near Sabarimala last week.
Hundreds of women participated in a protest march held in Erumeli, a key pilgrim centre connected with Sabarimala.