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  India   All India  16 Nov 2019  Kerala: No protection for ‘activists’ in Sabarimala

Kerala: No protection for ‘activists’ in Sabarimala

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Nov 16, 2019, 1:28 am IST
Updated : Nov 16, 2019, 2:53 am IST

The police has declared Sabarimala and adjoining areas as “special security zone” during the entire Mandalam-Makaravilakku season.

 Devotees can avail the online registration facility (sabarimalaonline.org) for hassle free darshan.
  Devotees can avail the online registration facility (sabarimalaonline.org) for hassle free darshan.

Kochi: While the Supreme Court has allowed women of all ages to continue visiting the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, the Kerala government on Friday clarified that activists hoping to make a statement by taking up the pilgrimage will not be given police protection.

“This is not a place for activism. This is not a place for activists like Trupti Desai to show their strength. We won’t take them in. Let them go get a court order,” said Kerala Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran.

 

Mr Surendran reiterated the government’s stand that it has sought legal advice for better insight into the recent Supreme Court order on the Sabarimala issue. “The earlier situation was different, when there was a strong Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter. That is not the situation now, given that the case is being heard by a larger bench,” he said.

Trupti Desai, however, remained firm in her resolve to undertake the Sabarimala pilgrimage. “The government can decide whether we should be provided protection, but we’ll definitely go there. Saying that we should get an order from the court to get police protection amounts to disrespecting the Supreme Court’s judgement,” news agency ANI quoted the Pune-based activist as saying.

 

On Thursday, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi referred review petitions on its earlier Sabarimala verdict to a seven-judge bench while widening the ambit of the debate to look into gender discrimination across religions. It, however, did not stay its 2018 majority decision that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.

With the two-month long annual pilgrimage season at Sabarimala set to begin on Sunday, a large posse of police personnel were deployed at the hill shrine. There will be no prohibitory orders this time around.

“There will be no prohibitory orders this time. However, high vigil will be maintained on the law and order front,” Pathanamthitta district collector P.B. Nooh said.

 

The police has declared Sabarimala and adjoining areas as “special security zone” during the entire Mandalam-Makaravilakku season.

“Over 2,800 police personnel have been deployed at Sabarimala in the initial phase. This is besides the contingents of Central agencies like the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF). Cops have been deployed in mufti and all accused in last year’s violence will be continuously monitored,” said Jose R., deputy SP, district special branch.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC banning unlawful assembly were clamped during the entire pilgrimage season last year owing to tense situation post the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all ages to the hill shrine.

 

This time around, the Lord Ayyappa temple will open on Saturday evening while regular pujas signalling the start of the pilgrimage season will be performed from early Sunday, the first day of Malayalam month Vrischikam.

Melshanti Vasudevan Nampoothiri will open the sanctum sanctorum of the temple at 5 pm on Saturday in the presence of Tantri Mahesh Mohanaru. Later A.K. Sudhir Nampoothiri will be installed as the New “Melshanti” by performing “Kalas-abishekam” before passing on the “moolamantram’ of Lord Ayyappa to him. The new Melshanti will perform regular pujas from 4 am on Sunday.

The first leg of the pilgrimage, the 41-day “Mandala” phase, will culminate with the mandala puja on December 27. It will be followed by “Makaravilakku” with the jyothi darshan as its highpoint on January 15.

 

Devotees can avail the online registration facility (sabarimalaonline.org) for hassle free darshan.

Tags: lord ayyappa temple, supreme court
Location: India, Kerala, Cochin (Kochi)