Sabarimala: 2 women return to base camp

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. (AFP Photo)

Another bid by two women in their forties to trek to the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa here was foiled on Monday by protesting devotees, a day after a similar effort by a group of 11 women failed.

The attempt by the two women — Bindu (42), a CPI(ML) activist from Koyilandy in Kozhikode district, and Kanakadurga (44), said to be a civil supplies employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram — came after 11 women activists of a Chennai-based outfit were prevented from reaching the shrine and chased away by devotees chanting mantras on Sunday.

A case has been registered against 150 people for rioting and causing obstruction, the police said.

Though the police at first gave them protection and tried to take them to the temple despite protests, they soon realised that it was dangerous and advised them to abandon their plans.

The two women, who reached Pampa at around 4 am, faced massive protests from devotees at Apachimedu and Marakootam, about one km from ‘Sannidhanam’ (temple complex), as they were being escorted by the police.


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Devotees surged in large numbers to the pathway while the women were being escorted, and there was a minor scuffle with the police.

The police tried to evict the pilgrims who shouted “go back” and chanted Ayyappa mantras and a tense situation prevailed with the restive devotees showing no signs of backing off.

Seeing the growing number of protesters, including young children, and to prevent the situation from getting out of hand, the women were advised to return by the police.

Though both women, who had trekked about 4.5 km, initially insisted they would offer prayers at the shrine, Kanakadurga complained of uneasiness shortly thereafter and fainted and had to be rushed to Pampa hospital, police said.

Bindu was also taken to the hospital. Both were later shifted to the Kottayam medical college hospital. A cameraman of a TV channel was injured in a scuffle between media personnel and the police when the former tried to talk to the two women when they were being moved to the hospital.

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