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.