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  India   All India  05 Jan 2019  Sri Lankan woman entered Sabarimala Temple

Sri Lankan woman entered Sabarimala Temple

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 5, 2019, 1:29 am IST
Updated : Jan 5, 2019, 4:56 am IST

Official sources told PTI that the woman did enter the sanctum sanctorum. CCTV visuals of Ms Sasikala’s visit were also released by police later.

As many as 1,718 people have been arrested and 1,009 taken in preventive custody and 1,108 cases registered in connection with violent protests as part of the dawn-to-dusk “hartal” called by pro-Hindu outfits on Thursday, police said.
 As many as 1,718 people have been arrested and 1,009 taken in preventive custody and 1,108 cases registered in connection with violent protests as part of the dawn-to-dusk “hartal” called by pro-Hindu outfits on Thursday, police said.

Sabarimala: A 46-year-old Sri Lankan woman prayed inside the Ayyappa temple on Thursday night, claimed Kerala officials even as the state continued to witness stray incidents of violence, including hurling of crude bombs at various places, on Friday over the entry of two young women into the hill shrine earlier this week.

All through the day, there was confusion over whether or not Ms Sasikala succeeded in offering prayers at the temple late on Thursday night as she had claimed on Friday morning that police had turned her away even though there was no protest from devotees.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that “a third woman” had indeed visited the sannidhanam (temple complex). “Why nobody wants to call a hartal and undertake purification in the temple,” he asked on Friday.

Official sources told PTI that the woman did enter the sanctum sanctorum. CCTV visuals of Ms Sasikala’s visit were also released by police later.

However, it is not clear if she climbed the “padinettampadi” (holy 18 steps) to reach the sanctum sanctorum.

Meanwhile, stray incidents of violence continued in the state, which witnessed unprecedented mayhem on Thursday, a day after the two women entered the hill temple, infuriating saffron outfits whose supporters blocked roads using burning tyres.

As many as 1,718 people have been arrested and 1,009 taken in preventive custody and 1,108 cases registered in connection with violent protests as part of the dawn-to-dusk “hartal” called by pro-Hindu outfits on Thursday, police said.

Ever since the LDF government decided to implement the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all age groups to enter the holy shrine, the temple complex has witnessed fierce protests from rightwing outfits.

Traditionally, women in the 10-50 age group are not allowed to enter the temple. However on January 2, two women in their forties — Bindu and Kanakadurga — had offered prayers at the shrine in the early hours.

Earlier, Ms Sasikala, who came from Sri Lanka with her husband Saravanan and son for darshan, had told reporters at Pamba on Friday morning that she was not allowed to offer prayers at the temple.

Mr Saravanan also maintained that only he and his son were able to worship at the temple.

Some television channels had last night aired visuals of the woman with “irumudikettu” (sacred offerings) and two plainclothes policemen accompanying her. On spotting the media, the policemen were seen scurrying away.

Sources said that Ms Sasikala prayed in front of the sanctum sanctorum at 9.30 pm. They accompanied her downhill to Pampa by 11.30 p.m. Her passport gave her date of birth as December 3, 1972.

“There was no protest from devotees. But police sent me back. I am an Ayyappa devotee. They did not allow me to go to the shrine. I am not scared of anyone,” Ms Sasikala told reporters on her return to Pamba, the foothills of Sabarimala.

A visibly agitated Ms Sasikala said she had observed the 41-day “vratham” (penance).

“They did not allow me. Why did they not allow me? Why are you all standing around me now? I am not afraid of anyone. Ayyappa will answer you all. You will come to know who I am,” she said.

She also said that her uterus had been removed for medical reasons and hence she had the right to go to the temple. “I am a devotee, I have a medical certificate,” she said.

According to official sources, due to security reasons Ms Sasikala might have said she could not offer prayers.

Meanwhile, a transgender named Kayal, who arrived at Pamba around 6 am on Friday, was turned away and not allowed by the police to go to the temple complex following protest from the devotees.

Kayal came dressed in a saree but later changed to men’s clothing and tried to trek the hills with the “irrumudikettu”.

Four transgenders had recently offered prayers at Sabarimala wearing black sarees.

Tags: sabarimala temple, sri lankan woman
Location: India, Kerala