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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Two women turned back from Nilakkal base camp on last day of Sabarimala pilgrimage

Kerala government told the Supreme Court on Friday that 51 women of menstruating age had entered the Sabarimala temple since the landmark apex court order in September 2018.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2019 10:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Devotees wait in line to visit the Sabarimala temple in Kerala following the entry of two women on January 2, 2019.
Devotees wait in line to visit the Sabarimala temple in Kerala following the entry of two women on January 2, 2019. (AFP File Photo)
         

Two women who reached Nilakkal base camp today to trek to the Sabarimala temple returned after police warned them about the protesters gathered in the second camp at Pamba, ANI reported. It did not say where they had come from.

Saturday is the last day of the annual pilgrimage to the temple of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala. The piligrimage has been in the eye of a storm after the Supreme Court lifted and ban on women of reproductive age to visit the temple in September last year.

On January 2, two women Bindu Ammini (42) and Kanaka Durga(39) – entered the temple triggering violent protests across the state. Until now they were believed to the first women of menstruating age to enter the temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

But the Kerala government told the Supreme Court on Friday that 51 women of menstruating age had entered the Sabarimala temple since the landmark apex court order in September 2018.

Many women attempted to enter the temple but were either sent back from base camp or stopped near the sanctum sanctorum in much-publicised visits.

On Friday, the Supreme Court directed the state police to provide protection to Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga but and refused to entertain other prayers made by the women, including a direction to stop the temple authorities from conducting purification rite that was carried out after their entry.

Temple authorities and traditionalists are opposed to the entry of women of reproductive age entering the temple on grounds that Lord Ayyappa is a celibate. They have been backed by the BJP in their opposition to women’s entry into the temple.