Sabarimala row: Protestors attack journalists, claim mediapersons ‘are creating trouble’

18 October, 2018, 07:25 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Janani who comes from Madurai in Tamil Nadu visited the temple with her parents on Friday

Tension is brewing in some parts of Kerala hours ahead of the opening of the ancient Sabarimala Temple for monthly prayers Wednesday with devotees opposing the Supreme Court order stepping up protests and police taking some of them into custody.

Kerala's Sabarimala temple is scheduled to open today for devotees, in the backdrop of a controversial Supreme Court judgement, which lifted a centuries-old ban on girls and women of menstruating age from visiting the temple.

Earlier, the police, deployed in large numbers in Nilackal, some 20 kms away from the Sabarimala hilltop, had removed a makeshift shelter erected by a protesting group- Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti. About 1,000 police officers were dispatched to the area on Wednesday to control protesters and arrested 11 people, according to the AP. Nilakkal is a halting place for Ayyappa devotees during the Sabarimala pilgrimage and located about 23 km from the temple. The angry mob targeted media persons at Nilakkal and damaged the cars of two private news channels, carrying female journalists at Nilakkal.

Sabarimala temple row LATEST updates: Journalist Suhasini Raj has abandoned her journey and is returning from Marakkoottam to Pampa. He has been hospitalised. 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.

"I am here to protest the Supreme Court decision", said engineer Anisha S., 23, one of a group chanting religious slogans.

The protesters turned their ire on mediapersons. "You are working for Pinarayi [Vijayan]".

The campaign to allow women into the temple gathered momentum in 2016 after a protest by female students. Asianet quoted Suhasini as saying that "she did not want to create trouble" and is thus abandoning her trek to the shrine.

Mob attempts to block first entry of women of menstruating age to sacred Hindu temple

The News Minute, an Indian digital newspaper, said reporter Saritha Balan was physically attacked while embedded with a group of devotees traveling to Sabarimala on a bus. She was physically dragged to sit with them on a dharna, before the police came for her rescue, television reports showed.

"I wanted to pray at the Sabarimala temple", she said as police took her to a police station for protection.

A woman attempted to hang herself from a tree in Thiruvananthapuram in protest against the Supreme Court's verdict over the entry of women of all age group into the temple.

A journalist at news website Newsgil, Libi CS, was stopped from proceeding to the temple at Pathanamthitta bus terminal. Libi C.S., a young journalist who is the editor of a news website Newsgil, had in a Facebook post on Wednesday announced that she was likely to travel to Sabarimala.

ANI reporter Ayushmaan Kumar was attacked at Nilakkal base camp.

"In a situation as this, I and other women journalists get vast pride to report what is happening on the ground accurately".

The Network of Women in Media, India, denounced the attacks. They demanded that the Chief Minister takes immediate action against the agitators.

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