Sabarimala Temple Closes Today, Media Warned Of Attacks, Asked To Leave

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The media may be targeted at Sabarimala, Journalists told to vacate Pamba and Sanidhannam

Sabarimala, Kerala:

Highlights

  1. Sabarimala temple closes for devotees after puja today
  2. Media has been warned of 'targeted attacks', told to stay away
  3. More than a thousand men camping at Sabarimala, say temple authorities

The Sabarimala temple will close on Monday at 10 pm after the five-day puja. The shrine had opened on October 18, first time after the Supreme Court's landmark verdict, allowing women in menstruating age groups to enter the temple. In the last four days, nine women in the 10-50 age groups have been stopped by protesters from going to the temple. Yesterday a 47-year-old woman suffered panic attack at the entrance of the temple after protesters surrounded and heckled her.

Journalists who have been reporting from Pamba have been told by the police to leave the area as they had information about targeted attacks on the media, said news agency ANI.

The temple administration has written to the government that it would lock the temple and stop rituals if any tradition is broken. Now there are concerns over more than a thousand men camping inside the temple, who can take law into their own hands, to stop women less than 50, from entering the shrine claimed the temple authorities.

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The BJP has denied allegations that it has deployed its party workers at the temple, to intensify the protests. The party has demanded a special assembly session to seek the Centre's intervention, while the Congress sought an ordinance by the Centre to override the Supreme Court's order. Both the parties have alleged that the CPI(M)-led government in Kerala was trying to destroy the sanctity of the shrine.

The state BJP on Sunday decided to stage protests across Kerala against the Supreme Court's Sabrimala temple verdict. "There will be a month-long Sabarimala Ayyappa Samrakshanaye Abhiyan," K Surendran, Kerala BJP General Secretary told news agency ANI. BJP workers will go from door to door and tell people about the importance of maintaining the sanctity of the temple, Mr Surendran added.

Thousands of protesters participated in the namajapa yatra or protest march chanting Lord Ayyappa mantra, to police stations across the state, against alleged action on the temple workers near Sabarimala last week. The Kerala police chief has said he will look into the allegations.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for the violence last Wednesday at Sabarimala. In a blog on Facebook, he said, "Sabarimala has a uniqueness that other temples lack. It allows entry for people of all faith. Sangh Parivar and RSS have always been intolerant of this fact. They have made many attempts to erase this distinction of Sabarimala."

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