Sabarimala Temple row: Fearing violence from protestors, two women turn back from ‘trek to hill shrine’

The two women who had made an attempt to trek the hill shrine Friday morning, began their descent, fearing violence from protesters, Indian Express reported.

Both women had managed to walk past ‘Marakootam’ along with the police which was also the spot where a woman journalist from New York Times was blocked yesterday. On her way to the temple yesterday, the NYT reporter faced stone pelting from protesters which resulted in her descent.

Earlier, a journalist and a social activist who started their climb to the Sabarimala hill on Friday morning amid tight police security and intense protests. Inspector General of Police Sreejith, leading a large police contingent, spoke to the protesters in an attempt to reason with them, however, the agitators refused to budge from Nadapanthal, saying,“We will not allow you to take young women to the shrine. We are ready to die for our Lord.”

Many protestors laid down on the road to block the climb.

Meanwhile, two men on a motorbike vandalised the house of social activist Rehana Fatima today at 8 am, said Chief Inspector Siby as quoted by Indian Express. Fatima is one of the women who started her climb to the Sabarimala temple this morning.

The second day since the opening of the Sabarimala Temple saw continuous protests and increasing intense violence, leading to the Travancore Devaswom Board on Thursday saying that it was ready for any compromise to bring peace to the hill shrine, including a review petition in the top court.

The Sabarimala temple is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), whose president is ruling CPM party leader A Padmakumar.

“The govt must decide whether the beliefs of crores of devotees must be protected or to implement the agenda of a few women,” says Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala.

He further said the govt must not lay the ground for BJP or RSS to exploit this situation. “We have been telling the govt from very early on not to take this situation lightly. Its a failure of police intelligence,” says Chennithala.

Upto six BJP youth activists were detained on Thursday for violating Section 144 by staging a sit-in protest at Nilakkal after a woman journalist was forced to return from her trek to the shrine due to protesters blocking her way and pelting stones.

Section 144 of CrPc was imposed in four places en route to the temple in the wake of the 24-hour hartal called by right-wing activists.

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