Visuals fron the spot
Visuals fron the spot

Sabarimala temple row: Police lathi-charge protesters

ANI | Updated: Oct 17, 2018 19:35 IST

Pathanamthitta (Kerala) [India], Oct 17 (ANI): Tension gripped the state of Kerala as devotees hit the streets in protest against entry of women into the Sabarimala temple. The protesters were lathi-charged as they gathered at the Nilakkal base camp of Pathanamthitta district. Stones were also pelted.
The shrine of Lord Ayyappa, located on the mountain range of the Western Ghats, opened for the first time today after the Supreme Court verdict allowed women of all ages to enter the temple. The temple will close on October 22.
Protesters blocked and attacked Republic TV journalist Pooja Prasanna's car in Pathanamthitta district. India Today journalist Mausami Singh and its crew also faced the ire of the protesters at the base camp.
Scores of protesters, including women, have been up in arms since the verdict was pronounced. Traditionally, women of menstruating age were barred from entering the temple.
In protest against the verdict, the devotees stopped vehicles and prevented women belonging to the 'prohibited age' group from moving towards the holy hill.
Reacting on the issue, Kerala Minister for Health, Social Justice and Woman and Child Development KK Shailaja on Wednesday termed the protest as "intentional" and politically motivated.
Backing the verdict of the top court, Shailaja said that the state government is bound to follow the direction of the court which prevents the fundamental right of women of the country.
"I can predict what is going on there, I think it is intentional, it is dirty politics they (protesters) are playing. We cannot say if they are actual devotees. The Supreme Court's order is constitutional and the government is bound to implement it," Shailaja told ANI.
Meanwhile, activist Rahul Easwar was arrested by from Nilakkal base camp and a non-bailable FIR was registered against him for stopping women. After the arrest, he was kept in the Pamba police station.
Easwar, however, denied allegations that he hit women. He said, "I was moving to the other direction. It is a vendetta against me."
A total of 30 people were arrested in Pamba since Tuesday in connection with the protests. (ANI)