Madhavi and his family are surrounded by protesters heading for Sabarimala temple
A 40-year-old woman and her family were heckled and intimidated on Wednesday as they headed for the Sabarimala Temple, which opens its doors tonight for the first time since the Supreme Court overturned the age-old ban Women of menstrual age – 10 to 50 years – enter the sanctuary.
Madhavi, who comes from Andhra Pradesh, began climbing the sanctuary at the top of a hill after reaching the base, Pamba, with her children and her parents. She had braved every obstacle in her path, the police walking beside her.
But the police stopped near the shrine, claimed the family and asked them to proceed alone.
Ten minutes after the beginning of their journey, the family had to abandon their prayer plan to Lord Ayyappa inside Sabarimala. The demonstrators were relentless as they pursued Madhavi and his family shouting slogans. They succeeded because the family, fearing to continue, turned around.
The Supreme Court ended the ban last month by invoking the archaic belief that menstruating women are "unclean" and can not be allowed near the Ayyappa deity, which devotees regard as unmarried.
With the exception of the Kerala Left Government led by Pinarayi Vijayan, the Congress, the BJP and many Hindu organizations have supported protests against the court order and warned of hefty consequences in case of violation of temple traditions.
Another woman, Libi CS, was arrested at a bus stop by worshipers who accused her of wearing jeans.
"This is how a lady should go to the temple." She claims to have observed penance, but if you look at the pearls of the Sabarimala necklace, it is very clear that she has worn it today. "Yesterday or yesterday, it is not acceptable to us and she will not be allowed to go there," said a group of angry female protesters.
Libi CS, a journalist, posted on Facebook her plan to visit Sabarimala Temple. The protesters apparently saw her post and decided to block her as soon as she arrived at a bus station in Pathanamthitta, 65 meters from the temple.
"Friends, we are leaving all four for Sabarimala today, which includes atheists like me and two devotees," said Libi's Facebook message.
The police protected her from a group of protesters who had surrounded her at the bus stop. They threatened to burn the bus when he was heading to the base camp of the temple, reported the IANS news agency.