Woman journalist abort Sabarimala trek

Woman journalist abort Sabarimala trek

Screengrab. Mathrubhumi News

A woman journalist was forced to abort her trek to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple early on Thursday after protesters blocked her near Marakkoottam, about two kilometres into the trek from the foothills.

Suhasini Raj, a reporter of the New York Times, and a male colleague had started their trek at around 7 am with police protection. She was taking the trek to report from the sannidhanam. A group of about 15 men protesting entry of women aged below 50 years intercepted her near Marakkoottam. The devotees, some of them chanting in protest, stopped the journalist. “I was hit with stones,” the journalist told reporters as she headed back to Pampa. Woman police personnel were not present at the location.

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The journalist was escorted by police personnel to the Pampa police station. The protesters managed to gather and block her entry even as section 144 is in place in four locations – Elavunkal, Nilakkal, Pampa and the sannidhanam.

Suhasini is the third woman in the 10-50 years age category denied entry to the hill shrine since Tuesday. The Sabarimala temple opened for monthly pujas, on Wednesday, for the first time after the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the entry of women aged under 50 years to the temple. Two women – from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – were blocked entry at Nilakkal and near Pampa by protesters during the last couple of days.