Kerala: 11 women try to trek Sabarimala, tension prevails in Pamba

Again tension gripped Pamba base camp, the foothills of the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala, as a group of 11 women of ‘banned age group’, tried to trek the hilltop shrine, today. Clad in the customary black dress, the women, members of the Chennai-based ‘Manithi’ outfit, are now squatting on the road. Police have thrown a security ring around them.

Notably, women, in the age group of 10-50 years, are traditionally barred from entering the Sabarimala temple. But the Supreme Court, through its September 28 landmark verdict, lifted the curb and permitted women of all age groups to offer prayers at the temple.

They were said to be started their journey  through the traditional forest path, about five kilometres from the temple complex but they failed to go forward as protesters started ‘namajapa’ (chanting of hymns of the lord) against their entry. Of the 11 women, six carried the traditional irumudikettu which is mandatory to climb the ‘pathinettam padi’ (holy steps leading to sanctum sanctorum).

On Friday night, a 43-year-old woman devotee from Andhra Pradesh, who came along with a group of pilgrims to offer prayers at the Ayyappa temple, was stopped and sent back by police midway, citing security reasons. Earlier this week, four transgenders were stopped from proceeding towards the shrine and asked to come back dressed as men. However, they managed to offer prayers at the hill shrine under heavy police security cover

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