Sabarimala temple protest Live updates: Thousands of pilgrims on Saturday offered prayers at Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala amid tight security even as a 12-hour strike by Hindu groups against the detention of a Hindu Aikya Vedi leader began at 6 am. Today is the first day of Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikom’. According to a PTI report, devotees including children, queued up in large numbers since the temple opened at 3 am. All regular pujas were performed under the supervision of new Melshanti (chief priest) Vasudevan Nampoothiri.
The hill shrine had opened on Friday evening for the two-month-long pilgrimage. On Friday night, Hindu Iykavedi (HI) chief and senior BJP leader KP Sasikala was detained by police while proceeding towards the temple. According to the outfit, she was detained illegally and the group has called for a shutdown in Kerala. The Kerala unit of VHP and BJP are backing HI’s strike call. According to reports, shops and other businesses were forced to down their shutters by HI, BJP and Sangh activists. Barring private vehicles, all other public transport vehicles stayed off the roads in many parts of the state. Schools and educational institutions were also closed today. Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has decided to move the Supreme Court on Monday. The board said that it will seek more time from the Supreme Court to implement its September 28 order to allow women of all age groups inside the temple.