Sabarimala temple: Temple opens for 62-day long pilgrimage amid tight security

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New Delhi | Updated: November 16, 2018 10:31:18 pm

Earlier, Aluva Tahsildhar and other district officials held talks with Desai and tried to persuade her to go back. However, she refused to return without offering prayers at the shrine.

Sabarimala temple live latest updatesSabarimala temple

Sabarimala Temple: Sabarimala shrine opened today with heavy police deployment in view of massive protests staged by Lord Ayyappa against the entry of women in the temple. Devotees will be allowed into the shrine till 10 pm today. However, pujas will be offered from tomorrow which is the first day of Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikom’.

Ahead of the opening of the temple, a massive showdown took place at Cochin airport where Lord Ayyappa devotees blocked activist Trupti Desai who wanted to offer prayers at the shrine today. After stiff resistance by protesters, Desai was reportedly asked to leave Kochi and return to Pune.

The move came moments before the temple was to open this evening. During the day, the police and other state officials made several attempts to persuade Trupti to go back, but she had refused. Aluva Tahsildhar and other district officials also held talks with Desai to persuade her to go back.

In the backdrop of protests, heavy deployment of police personnel has been made in and around the temple. Over 15,000 personnel would be deployed during the season. The state government has put in place measures to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC have been implemented in Sabarimala in Kerala from midnight Thursday for a week.

The sanctum sanctorum opened at 5 pm today. Devotees are permitted to enter the shrine from 5 pm to 10 pm. However, pujas will be offered from Saturday which is the first day of Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikom’, an official release said.

On Thursday, an all-party meeting called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan fell through after the opposition parties decided to walk out in protest against the government’s decision to implement the apex court verdict. The failure of talks to reach a consensus on the issue has set the stage for another round of protests in the temple town. Security has been heightened at the base camp – Nilackal.

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Highlights

    19:52 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Protesters threatened taxi drivers from providing us services, claims Trupti Desai

    Activist Trupti Desai on Friday claimed that protestors threatened taxi drivers from providing her service. She also said that hotel staff was threatened of damage to hotels if rooms were given to her. 'It saddens me to see that people who call themselves Lord Ayyappa devotees are abusing and threatening us,' Desai said while speaking to reporters at Kochi airport.

    18:32 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Trupti Desai to fly back to Mumbai 

    According to media reports, Trupti Desai will return to Mumbai tonight. She will take Air India's 9:30 flight from Cochin International  Airport. She wanted to visit Sabarimala today but was blocked by Lord Ayyappa protesters at the airport. 

    18:25 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Devaswom Board to seek more time

    PTI reported that the board will move the top court to seek more time to implement its order. 'If possible, we will move a petition in the Supreme Court either tomorrow or Monday,' Board President A Padmakumar said.

    17:55 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Devaswom Board to move SC on Sabarimala

    According to reports, the Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to move the Supreme Court to seek more time to implement its verdict on the entry of women. Earlier in September, the top court lifted the age-old ban on women's entry to the shrine. However, the state so far has not been able to implement the SC's judgement due to stiff protests by Lord Ayappa devotees.

    17:47 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Lord Ayyappa devotees throng to Sabarimala

    The doors of the temple opened today evening amid tight security.

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    17:44 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala Karma Samithi holds protest against Trupti Desai in Trivandrum

    Sabarimala Karma Samithi today held a protest against Trupti Desai in Kerala's Trivandrum. Desai wanted to offer prayers at the shrine today, but she was blocked by Lord Ayyappa devotees at Cochin international airport.

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    17:12 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala opens for 62-day long Mandala Pooja

    The gates of Sabarimala shrine opened for 62-day long Mandala Pooja. Devotees will be allowed into the shrine from 5 pm to 10 pm. However, pujas will be offered from Saturday which is the first day of Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikom’, an official release said.

    17:02 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Police ask Trupti Desai to leave Kochi

    According to reports, the police have asked activists Trupti Desai to leave Kochi. She has been asked to return to Pune.  During the day, the police tried to persuade Trupti to go back, but she had refused.

    16:45 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Lord Ayyappa devotees throng base camp to begin trek to Sabarimala

    Heavy rains reported from Sabarimala and adjoining regions. According to ANI, Lord Ayyappa devotees have gathered at base camp to begin trek to Sabarimala Temple. The shrine is scheduled to open its gate for devotees at 5 in the evening.

    16:06 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Trupti Desai should go back, says activist Rahul Easwar

    Activist Rahul Easwar, who is protesting outside Kochi airport, today said that Trupti Desai should go back. Speaking to ANI, he said: "She will have to step on our chests and walk over us if she wants to enter SabarimalaTemple."

    15:43 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    High level meeting of Devaswom Board members underway

    According to reports, a high level meeting of Devaswom Board members is currently underway. The meeting revolves around how to seek more time from the apex court.

    15:29 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Trupti cannot be brought outside airport, says police

    According to local media, the police has informed that Trupti cannot be brought outside the airport in the current situation. Speaking to Manorama News, Online Drivers' Union president PJ said that they won't be able to transport women heading to sabarimala temple. Ayyappa devotees have blocked all the exits at the airport as they are against the entry of women from certain age group into the shrine.

    15:04 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    No private vehicles allowed to Sabarimala

    PTI reported that only state road transport corporation buses will be allowed to enter Sabarimala. These buses will transport the pilgrims to Pamba and no private vehicles will be allowed. This is the third time the temple is opening since the top court allowed the entry of women. However, no woman could make it to the sanctum sanctorum due to stiff protests from various Hindu organisations.

    14:51 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Kerala police, Air Force, Navy to conduct aerial surveillance

    High security in and around Sabarimala shrine: Local reports say that Kerala police, along with the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, is set to do an aerial surveillance drive towards the end of the day. Local media reported that Aluva Tahsildhar and other district officials held talks with Trupti Desai and persuaded her to go back. However, she has refused.  

    14:45 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Heavy police deployment in and around Sabarimala

    Sabarimala temple will open at 5 pm this evening for the "Mandala Makkaravillakku" puja. In the backdrop of protests, heavy deployment of police personnel has been made in and around the temple. According to PTI, IGP Vijay Saleem has asked personnel to follow the strict dress code at the temple, while exemption has been given to cops at the holy 18 steps. Over 15,000 personnel would be deployed during the season.

    13:59 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar sentiments of devotees must be respected

    Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said tradition and sentiments of the devotees should be respected on the issue of entry of women of all age groups in Sabarimala and gender equality need not be applied on matters relating to the Lord Ayyappa temple. "Then, it is a tradition...and people's sentiments are also there...we have to respect it..." Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told PTI in an interview here. "It is not a matter of gender inequality here in this temple issue. In fact Indian culture always holds women in great reverence...True equality is when women are assured of safety, have equal opportunities in career and every girl child has access to quality education," he said. "However, this temple issue creates such an emotional hurt and shock to people... the devotees..., which could have been avoided.." he said.

    13:43 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Kerala High Court says no ban on media

    Kerala High Court ruled that entry of media into the Sabarimala premises should not be blocked. Meanwhile, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran demanded that passes provided to pilgrims should remain valid for 48 hours. If pilgrims do not return within 48 hours, they have to purchase tickets.

    13:33 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple to be opened for third time

    The temple opens Friday evening, for the third time since the apex court verdict on September 28 allowed women of all age group to offer prayers at the hilltop Lord Ayyappa temple though none could do so following stiff resistance from devotees and activists, opposing any change in the temple traditions.

    13:30 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Police asked Desai to return, says Kerala Devaswom Minister

    Kerala Devaswom Minister said that the police have asked the social activist to return from Cochin Internation Airport. Th Minister alleged that Desai has connections to Congress and claimed that she will return if asked by Congress and BJP.

    13:15 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: High-Drama at Kochi Airport continues

    There was high drama at the Nedumbassery Airport in Kochi when social activist Trupti Desai, who has vowed to offer prayers at the hill shrine, along with six other young women associates, was blocked from leaving for Sabarimala as a large number of devotees staged a "nama japam" protest clapping hands and chanting 'Swamiye Ayyappa'.

    13:11 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Weather updates, heavy rains lashing

    Meanwhile, heavy rains are lashing Sabarimala and nearby areas and devotees have not yet been allowed to leave for Pamba from here, a key base camp enroute to the temple. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses will transport the pilgrims to Pamba, about 20 km from here, and no private vehicles will be allowed.

    12:45 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Kerala HC dismisses Rehana Fatima’s anticipatory bail plea

    In a major decision, Kerala High Court has dismissed activist Rehana Fatima’s anticipatory bail plea. Earlier Rehana had tried to enter the Sabarimala Temple on October 19. Police had booked her under Section 295A of IPC.

    12:43 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Amit Malviya attacks Trupti Desai

    "‘Activist’ Trupti Desai had unsuccessfully contested the Pune Municipal Corporation election, in Feb 2012, from ward 38 (Balajinagar) on a Congress ticket. It is insidious how the Communists and Congress are shredding every tradition of the Hindu society, one step at a time...," Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP's national Information & Technology, posted on Twitter.

    12:40 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple protest: All you need to know

    12:35 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Complete timeline of Sabarimala Temple issue

    1990: Kerala resident S Mahendran filed plea in Kerala High Court seeking ban on women's entry to the temple.

    April 5, 1991: Kerala High Court upheld the age-old restriction on women of menstrual age-group entering the temple.

    August 4, 2006: Indian Young Lawyers Association files plea in Supreme Court seeking to ensure entry of women devotees between the age group of 10 to 50 at the Lord Ayappa Temple at Sabarimala.

    November 2007: LDF government of Kerala files affidavit supporting PIL questioning ban on women’s entry.

    January 11, 2016: Two-judge bench of Supreme Court questions practice banning entry of women at the temple.

    February 6, 2016: Congress-led UDF government takes U-turn, tells Supreme Court it is duty bound to “protect the right to practice the religion of these devotees”.

    April 11, 2016: Supreme Court says gender justice endangered by a ban on women.

    April 13, 2016: Supreme Court says tradition cannot justify a ban on women’s entry.

    April 21, 2016: Hind Navotthana Pratishtan and Narayanashrama Tapovanam files plea in Supreme Court supporting entry of women.

    November 7, 2016: LDF government files a fresh affidavit in Supreme Court saying it favoured the entry of women of all age groups.

    October 13, 2017: Supreme Court refers the case to Constitution bench.

    October 27, 2017: Plea filed in Supreme Court for gender-equal bench to hear the case.

    July 17, 2018: Five-judge Constitution bench starts hearing the matter.

    July 19, 2018: Supreme Court says women have a fundamental right to enter the temple and questioned the rationale behind the age group.

    July 24, 2018: Supreme Court made it clear that the ban on entry of women would be tested on “constitutional ethos”.

    July 25, 2018: Nair Service Society tells Supreme Court the celibate nature of Sabarimala temple’s presiding deity Lord Ayyappa is protected by the Constitution.

    July 26, 2018: Supreme Court observes it can’t remain oblivious to ban on entry of women as they were barred on “physiological ground” of menstruation.

    July 31, 2018: Supreme Court says constitutional scheme prohibiting exclusion has “some value” in a “vibrant democracy”.

    August 1, 2018: Supreme Court reserves verdict.

    September 28, 2018: In 4:1 verdict, Supreme Court allows entry of women in Sabarimala temple, says banning females’ entry into the shrine is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.

    11:43 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Kerala to deploy electric buses in Sabarimala

    Amid the ongoing protests, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has announced that it will run 10 zero emission, noiseless electric buses in Sabarimala when the temple opens for the annual 'mandala' pooja festivities on Friday evening.

    11:26 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sitaram Yechury slams BJP, Congress

    CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday accused the BJP and the Congress of "duplicity" on the Sabarimala issue. He said that their "opportunistic" stand was only whipping up communal polarisation. "They want to topple the (state) government ... that is the sense," he told reporters.

    10:59 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Taxi Drivers threatened, says Trupti Desai

    "Police tried to evacuate us from another gate but protesters were there as well. Protests being held here. Does this mean protesters are scared that we'll reach Sabarimala temple once we reach Nilakkal, or, are they trying to scare us? We won't return until we have 'darshan'. We reached Cochin Airport at 4:30 am. Protests were being held outside. We booked Taxi 2-3 times but drivers have been threatened that their vehicle will be vandalised if they offer us a drive. Police have said that we can't go outside now," says Trupti Desai.

    10:53 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Kerala police yet to take decision on providing security to Desai

    BJP leaders VS Ratheesh, SG Manoj and BMS leader TG Sreekumar were taken into custody this morning. Pilgrims can collect passes from local police station, according to reports. Kerala Police chief said that decision on providing security cover to Trupti Deasi has not been taken yet. The bus services between Nilakkal base camp to Pamba is set to commence at 12 pm, according to Kerala police. Police said it will take a call on allowing pilgrims who will go by foot.

    10:42 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple protest: Watch latest developments

    10:41 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Devaswom Minister to reach Nilakkal shortly

    Devaswom Minister to reach Nilakkal shortly to review facilities for pilgrims. The state had witnessed a string of protests by the Congress, the BJP, RSS and right wing outfits against the LDF government's decision to implement the court verdict. Frenzied devotees had prevented at least a dozen women in the 10-50 age group from entering the temple when it opened for five days last month and two days this month for monthly and special puja amid high drama.

    10:38 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Trupti Desai at Kochi airport

    10:30 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Left govt sponsoring women activists, says Kerala Congress leader

    Several judgments remain unimplemented by the state government and are put in 'cold storage', therefore, why is the state in such a rush when it comes to Sabarimala? We are witnessing a trend where the state government seems to be sponsoring women who are not Ayyappa devotees to enter the shrine. This state government is responsible for all these things that are happening at Sabarimala today: K. Muraleedharan, senior Congress leader in Kerala tells Manorama Online

    10:28 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan attacks RSS over Sabarimala temple row

    Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the "attack" on Elayidom's office. In a statement, Vijayan said Elayidom's office was "attacked as he took a strong stand against the communal agenda of RSS." He alleged that the outfit has adopted a "style of attacking and threatening" those who oppose them. Vijayan said police would initiate strong action against the culprits behind the incident.

    10:24 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Writer Sunil Elayidom receives threat over Sabarimala temple row

    Noted orator and thinker Sunil P Elayidom, who has been pitching for implementation of Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple, has received threats from unidentified persons, police said. A complaint has also been lodged with the police alleging that danger marks were drawn in saffron colour on the doors of Elayidom's office at Kalady Sanskrit University. Besides, the nameboard of Elayidom, who is a Malayalam language professor at the university, was also found broken, they said adding a probe has been launched on the basis of the complaint filed by the University authorities.

    10:20 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Kerala Police opts for 'reasonable' restrictions

    Due to the protests witnessed in and around the shrine when it was opened in October and this month for the monthly pujas, it has been decided to impose "reasonable" restrictions, he said. But all the pilgrims will have the opportunity to have darshan before they return, Kerala Police DGP Loknath Behara said.

    10:14 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple timing 2018

    The sanctum sanctorum will open at 5 pm Friday when two new melsanthis (chief priests)-- M L Vasudevan Namboodiri (Ayyappa temple) and M N Narayanan Namboodiri (Malikapapuram) will assume charge. Though devotees will be allowed inside the shrine from 5 pm-10 pm on Friday, pujas and 'Neyabishekams'(ghee offering) will be held only when the temple opens at 4 am on November 17, the first day of Malayalam month of Vrischikom, according report.

    10:13 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Pilgrims will not be allowed to stay back

    Lord Ayyappa pilgrims, who visit the Sabarimala temple, will not be allowed to stay back at the 'sannidhanam' at night after darshan, DGP Loknath Behara has said. Police presence in and around the hill shrine would be doubled this year compared to last year, he said. 'Nobody will be allowed to stay at the sannidhanam (temple complex) after the temple closes at night, Behara told reporters after reviewing the security arrangements at Nilackal, the base camp.

    10:11 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: No political resolution yet

    The stand-off over the entry of women of menstruating age to the temple continued Thursday, as consensus eluded a crucial all-party meeting called to resolve the issue. At the meeting, the Kerala government said it would implement the September 28 Supreme Court order, allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple, prompting the opposition to walk out in protest.

    10:09 (IST)16 Nov 2018
    Sabarimala temple: Congress, BJP want to topple left govt in Kerala, says Sitaram Yechury

    CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has accused the BJP and the Congress of "duplicity" on the Sabarimala issue, saying their "opportunistic" stand was only whipping up communal polarisation. The CPM leader also alleged that by boycotting an all-party meeting called by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday, the two parties have shown that they do want a solution to the issue. "They want to topple the (state) government ... that is the sense," he told reporters. He said it is the constitutional obligation of any state government to implement the verdict of the Supreme Court. "There was no stay on the entry of women today.The state government has to implement the verdict. The meeting was convened as part of the government's desire to find a solution," he said.

      Following the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala, the state had witnessed a string of violent protests. A political slugfest has erupted between the Congress, the BJP, RSS and right wing outfits against the LDF government's decision to implement the court verdict. Earlier, protesters had prevented several women in the 10-50 age group from entering the temple when it opened for five days October and two days this month for monthly and special puja.
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