SABARIMALA: The LDF Government has always been insisting that it will enforce the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, but it finds itself constantly on the back foot as police keep sending young women back due to protests from devotees, particularly at the Nilakkal base camp and Pampa.
Two 40-year-olds, Kanaka Durga and Bindu Hariharan, were the latest to drop their trekking plans on Monday morning after the situation went out of control. The exhausted duo was taken to the Government Medical College at Kottayam but the protesters, under the aegis of Sangh Parivar, did not give them any respite, hurling rotten eggs at them on the hospital premises. Six persons were arrested in connection with the incident.
Weary of the gruelling trek, Kanakadurga had fainted on the way. The cops took her to a nearby hospital. They also forced Bindu to move away from the trekking path. But when she insisted on continuing her journey to the temple, the police forcefully removed her, according to sources.
"The Supreme Court order must be enforced and hope, police will provide us security," Bindu told media while on the way to Sabarimala.
On Sunday, the Sabarimala foothills had witnessed high drama as hundreds of devotees blocked paths and chased away a group of 11 women of menstruating age being escorted to the hill shrine by police.
The bid of the 11 women, who were members of a Chennai-based women empowerment outfit, ' Manithi ', to reach the shrine to offer prayers was unsuccessful on Sunday as they were forced to return by protesting devotees.
Kerala had witnessed massive protests by devotees and the BJP opposing the apex court verdict of September 28 permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.
Thousands of devotees have gathered at the foothills of the shrine as the first phase of the annual pilgrimage season to Sabarimala comes to an end in the next three days.
The trek to Sabarimala starts from Pamba, which is around four kms from the hilltop shrine.
The first phase of the 41-day long annual pilgrim season at the Lord Ayyappa temple would culminate on December 27 with the puja.
Over a dozen women, including a journalist and an activist of menstruating age, had also earlier tried to trek to the shrine, nestled in the Western Ghats forests, but could not make it due to protests by devotees and right-wing activists.
The Kerala High Court earlier this month had appointed a three-member committee, vesting them with powers to oversee law and order and other problems faced by pilgrims during the ongoing annual season.
(With PTI inputs)