New Delhi: Two women below 50 who started trekking uphill to the Sabarimala temple this morning returned to the base camp Pamba after they were blocked by protesters 1 km away from the hilltop shrine in Kerala. The two women were escorted by a police team. They had asked for more personnel to be sent from the base camp Pamba as the protesters surrounded them.
One of the two women, Bindu, had said they will not turn back even if they are attacked. Some people gathered outside her house in Kozhikode and shouted slogans, local news channels reported.
Some protesters who tried to stop the two women this morning when they started climbing from the base camp Pamba were quickly removed by the police, sources said.
On Sunday, a group of 11 women aborted their attempt to go to the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa after protesters clashed with the police. The women were evicted from the base camp, 5 km from the temple, by the Kerala police following a huge face-off with protesters. The police have denied the accusation.
The group was expected to be the first of several planning to attempt the trek in December — three months after a Supreme Court order that opened the temple doors to women of all ages.
Around 40 women are expected to arrive over the next few days to attempt offer puja when the temple opens for Makarsankranti on December 30.
On Sunday, protests intensified at Pamba against the 11 women only three hours after they gathered at the base camp at dawn. The women’s group told NDTV that the protesters “snatched” their “irumudi” or offerings kit that devotees carry on their heads.
Accusing the police of enacting a drama, the women, who were shifted to the police control room at Pamba on Sunday, said, “The police failed us. They told us they can’t provide us security and forcibly evicted us”.
The police, they further said, “delayed” them in the morning which played into the hands of the protesters. “We came at 3 am but the police made us wait for 9 hours and escorted us around 12 pm, provoking hundreds of protesters gathered,” they said.