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Sabarimala temple row updates: Women should enter shrine openly, not secretly, says CPI leader

The two women are the first to enter the Sabarimala temple after the Supreme Court in September last year allowed women of all ages to pray there breaking the centuries-old ban against those menstruating. Follow live updates here:

By Ramesh Babu | Jan 02, 2019 20:33 IST

Two women below the age of 50 have said they offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district early on Wednesday, a claim denied by police.

A high alert has been sounded throught the state, and the police have also tightened security.

The women are the first to enter the Sabarimala temple after the Supreme Court in September last year allowed women of all ages to pray there breaking the centuries-old ban against those menstruating. Before them, no women between the age of 10 and 50 could enter the temple amid protests by devotees.


The women’s move prompted the temple officials to close its doors to ‘purify’ it. The temple reopened after an hour.

Follow live updates here:

6.40 pm IST

Hindu outfits call for shutdown on Thursday

An umbrella organisation of various pro-Hindutva groups have called for a state-wide shutdown Thursday. Sabarimala Karma Samiti Samiti leader K P Sasikala said the government has betrayed devotees. Traders’ organisations have said they will not cooperate with the shutdown and sought police protection to open their establishments.

6.30 pm IST

Women should enter Sabarimala openly, not secretly

“Generally, we want women’s entry (into the Sabarimala shrine), but we don’t want something secretly to be done. It is to be done openly, everybody should accept, that’s our view,” CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said.

5.30 pm IST

Journalists attacked during protests

Among the journalists attacked by BJP and Yuva Morcha activists outside the state secretariat were Asianet reporter Prakula, Deccan Chronicle photojournalist Peethambaran Payyeri, Mathrubhumi video-journalist Biju. Camera and equipment of channels like Mathrubhumi and Media One were also damaged.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists’ flayed the attack on the media personnel and sought stern action.

5.10 pm IST

Police, BJP workers clash in Thiruvananthapuram

Clash between BJP workers and the police during a protest over the entry of two women in Sabarimala temple.


3.50 pm IST

Minister AK Balan blocked

Protesters block minister AK Balan at Palakkad guest house. More police rushed to rescue him.

3.40 pm IST

Violence spreads to many areas in Kerala

Violence spreads to many areas. Baton charging in Palakkad, Kasargode and Thiruvananthapuram.

3:17 pm IST

Every woman has right to worship: CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat

Senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said Wednesday every woman has the right to worship at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.

3:15 pm IST

Activist Trupti Desai hails young women’s entry

Social activist Trupti Desai Wednesday hailed the entry of two women in their mid forties into the Lord Aayyappa hill shrine in Kerala’s Sabarimala, saying it is a “victory of equality”.

Desai was forced to return from the Kochi airport when she arrived to offer prayers at Sabarimala with six young women, following “nama japam” (chanting of Ayyappa hymns) protests by devotees and right wing outfits for 13 hours on November 16.

1:55 pm IST

Sabarimala Karma Samiti calls for Kerala shutdown on Thursday

Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella organisation of many Hindu outfits, has called for a statewide shutdown on Thursday.

It has also asked devotees not to contribute any money in Sabarimala and other temples.

1:45 pm IST

Will act against priest who shut temple: Travancore Devaswom Board

The Travancore Devaswom Board said that it will take action against Tantri for closing the temple for ‘purification rites’.

“We are not aware of the decision to close the temple. We will seek explanation from him” said Travancore Devaswom Board member N Vijaykumar.

1:40 pm IST

Congress, BJP demand CM’s resignation

After two women entered the Sabarimala shrine early this morning, there are protests happening across Kerala. Congress, BJP demanded Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s resignation.

1:15 pm IST

I’m happy: BJP MP Udit Raj

“I’m happy that two women entered Sabarimala temple,” says BJP MP Udit Raj.

12:55 pm IST

Protestors force shops to shut down

Protestors are forcing shops to close down in Kollam and other places amid widespread protest across the state.

12:50 pm IST

BJP Mahila Morcha stopped from entering secretariat

Five BJP Mahila Morcha members protesting against two women entering Sabarimala Temple today, were stopped from entering the state secretariat by police in Thiruvananthapuram, according to news agency ANI.

12:46 pm IST

‘Sanctity breached’, some devotees call off pilgrimage

Some devotees on way to the hilltop temple called off their pilgrimage saying sanctity of the temple breached.`

12:45 pm IST

BJP rally turns violent

The BJP rally outside Kerala secretariat turned violent. Many temple offices have been closed. There are also reports of roads being blocked in many areas.

12:35 pm IST

Black flags shown to Kerala ministers

Protests erupted in various parts of Kerala Wednesday against the entry of two women in their forties into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, police said.

BJP workers waved black flags at Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran in Guruvayur where he had gone to attend a function. Health minister K K Shylaja also had to face the ire of activists of the Yuva Morcha, the party’s youth wing at Kannur, who showed black flags, they said.

11:55 am IST

BJP, RSS workers block road

BJP, RSS workers today blocked the busy Kasargode Mangaluru road.

11:50 am IST

Congress-led UDF to observe protest

Congress-led UDF will observe protest day today.

11:45 am IST

Providing security is our responsibility, not verifying age: DGP

“It is the responsibility of police to give protection to those who come and we did it. Verifying the age and other details is not our responsibility,” said Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera on 2 women in their 40s offering prayers at Sabarimala Temple.

11:35 am IST

Temple reopens

Sabarimala temple reopened after ‘purification rites’ went on for about an hour.

11:30 am IST

Protest on through democratic means: BJP state prez to devotees

BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai told devotees not to get carried away and register their protest only through democratic means.

11:20 am IST

BJP calls for two-day protest

As two women below 50 years of age entered the Sabarimala temple today and the temple was shut thereafter, BJP in Kerala has called for a two-day protest in the state.

11:05 am IST

CM cheated devotees: Sabarimala Karma Samiti

“The chief minister has cheated devotees. He is answerable to crores of devotees. He will have to pay a heavy price for hurting sentiments of devotees” said Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella organisation of many Hindu outfits.

11:00 am IST

Tantri’s decision, a contempt

CM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan criticised the tantri’s decision to close the temple. He said that it a contempt of court.

10:50 am IST

Situation tense

The situation at the hilltop shrine as well as the base camp looks tense as the temple has been closed for purification rites. However, the pilgrims have refused to disperse.

10:45 am IST

Pilgrims refuse to disperse

Pilgrims who are standing outside the temple in winding queues refuse to disperse, even as the temple has been closed for now.

10:40 am IST

Black day for Kerala: BJP

“It is a black day for the state,” said BJP after as two women below 50 years of age entered the shrine today.

10:35 am IST

Temple doors closed

The Sabarimala temple has been shut for purification rituals after two women below 50 entered the shrine.

10:10 am IST

Women entered temple: CM 

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the women entered the Sabarimala temple and added that the police provided them enough protection.

“It is a fact that two women entered the temple. Earlier their trekking was foiled due to inadequate security. Police are duty-bound to give them protection” said the chief minister.

10:05 am IST

Temple likely to be closed for purification rites

Temple is likely to be closed for purification rites. All eyes are now on the Tantri, the supreme priest.

10:00 am IST

Avoided 18 holy steps: Bindhu

Bindhu, a lawyer who entered the temple today said they entered the temple avoiding 18 holy steps that are considered most sacrosanct as far as Sabarimala pilgrimage is concerned.

9:55 am IST

Police promised help: Bindhu

“We approached police on Tuesday and they promised all help” said Bindhu, a lawyer who entered the Sabarimala shrine this morning.

9:50 am IST

Security tightened

As the two women entered the shrine early morning today, police have tightened security

9:45 am IST

High alert sounded

A high alert has been sounded throught the state.

9:40 am IST

Women entered at 3:45 am

Bindhu, a lawyer, and activist Kanakadurga, both in their early 40s, told a news channel that they offered prayers at the hilltop shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa 3:45 am in the morning and came back to Pambha base camp at 5am.

9:30 am IST

2 women enter temple

Two women below the age of 50 have said they offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district early on Wednesday, a claim denied by police.

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