Rightwing Hindu outfits called for dawn to dusk bandh over arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi state chief KP Sasikala.
Mumbai: The Sabarimala temple reopened to the devotees for the third time after the Supreme Court verdict on Friday evening. However, protests against the entry of women of menstruating ages are continuing in and around the hilltop shrine.
Today, a rightwing Hindu outfit has called for a dawn to dusk strike in protest against the arrest of Hindu Aikyavedi KP Sasikala who was on the pilgrimage to Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple.
The holy shrine opened on Friday for a two-month-long pilgrimage season. Some 500 women have registered themselves to visit the shrine after the Supreme Court in September allowed the entry of women between 10 and 50 years.
However, no girl or woman in the previously banned age group could offer prayers so far following stiff resistance by devotees and activists, opposing any change in the temple traditions.
On Friday, activist Trupti Desai had to spend an entire day at Kochi airport as she was prevented from leaving the airport by protesters opposing entry of menstrual age women into the Lord Ayyappa shrine. She aborted her attempt after over 14-hour stand-off.
Here are the LIVE updates on the Sabarimala temple opening:
12:47 pm: Drones being used for security surveillance as devotees throng to Pamba base came to trek to Sabarimala temple.
12:12 pm: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala shrine, would move the Supreme Court on Monday seeking more time to implement its order allowing women of menstrual age to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple.
10:45 am: Lord Ayyappa devotees begin the trek from Pampa to Sabarimala temple which has opened for 62-day long Mandala Pooja-Magaravilaku annual pilgrimage season.
06:52 am: Sabarimala Karma Samithi calls state-wide shutdown today from 6 am to 6 pm in protest against the arrest of Hindu Aikyavedi state president KP Sasikala at Marakkoottam Friday night. She was going to Sannidhanam and was arrested after she protested when police did not allow her to travel at night.
05:45 am: “We were stopped at the airport. If they wanted to oppose us, they should have protested in Nilakkal but they knew that if we reached Nilakkal, we would advance to Pamba and return after ‘darshan’. So they were scared and stopped us at the airport,” activist Trupti Desai said after reaching Mumbai.
“Protesters were resorting to violence and hooliganism. They should not have done that. They call themselves Lord Ayyappa's devotees but I don't think, they can be his devotees. They were verbally abusing us and threatening us,” she added.
05:40 am: “Police told us that they'll provide us security the next time we visit. We decided to return as we didn't want violence due to us. This time we went there after announcing, the next time we won't announce but follow 'guerrilla tactics',” Trupti Desai said.
05:01 am: Earlier on Saturday, Trupti Desai was unable to come out of Mumbai airport as protesters had gathered outside. She and the other women were later brought out with the help of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) jawans and Mumbai police personnel.