Sabarimala Row: Two Women Offer Prayers at Temple Amid Protests
Devotees enter Sabarimala temple after it opened on 16 November.
Devotees enter Sabarimala temple after it opened on 16 November.(Photo: PTI)

Sabarimala Row: Two Women Offer Prayers at Temple Amid Protests

The sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was shut for “purification rituals”, after two women entered the shrine in the earlier in the day.

Two women, below the age of 50, entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday, 2 January.

Catch all the live updates here.


SC to Hear Review Petitions on Tuesday

A batch of 48 petitions seeking review of the judgment would be taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices RF Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

Besides these pleas, four separate petitions seeking review of the verdict are also slated to come up for hearing in the open court before a bench comprising CJI Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.

The apex court’s judgement has led to protests and counter-protests at the hill-top shrine in Kerala.

The top court had on 9 October declined an urgent hearing on the review plea filed by an association which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench's verdict lifting the ban was "absolutely untenable and irrational".

Later, the court had said that it would consider the review pleas on 13 November.

(Source: PTI)

(Hi there! We will be continuing our news service on WhatsApp. Meanwhile, stay tuned to our Telegram channel here.)

What Does the Petition Say?

A plea filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association (NADA), which has sought review of the verdict, had said:

“The notion that the judgment under review is revolutionary, one which removes the stigma or the concept of dirt or pollution associated with menstruation, is unfounded. It is a judgment welcomed by hypocrites who were aspiring for media headlines. On the merits of the case, as well, the said judgment is absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse.”

Besides the Association, several other petitions including one by Nair Service Society (NSS), have been filed against the apex court verdict.

The NSS had said in the plea that as the deity is a 'Naistika Brahmachari', females below the age of 10 and after the age of 50 years are eligible to worship him and there is no practice of excluding worship by females.

"Hence, the delay or wait for 40 years to worship cannot be considered as exclusionary and it is an error of law on the face of the judgement," the plea had said.

(Source: PTI)

Kerala Govt Files Preliminary Objection Plea

Kerala government has opposed a plea seeking ban on entry of non-Hindus in Sabarimala Temple and stated before the Kerala High Court that temple is "secular" and said that entry of devotees based on their religion cannot be prohibited.

According to LiveLaw, State Attorney KV Sohan filed the preliminary objection on Monday, 12 November, which stated, "It is a historically accepted fact that Sabarimala is a secular temple where entry of devotees is not restricted on the ground of any caste or religion."

SC to Hear Writ Petitions After Review Petitions

Supreme Court says, “We will consider the writ petitions after the disposal of review petitions at 3 PM today.”

SC Begins Hearing Review Petitions

The Supreme Court has begun hearing a batch of petitions on Tuesday, 13 November, seeking recall of the verdict delivered by the top court on 28 September allowing women of all ages to enter Lord Ayyappa’s temple at Sabarimala.

SC to Hear Review Petitions on 22 January

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 13 November, agreed to hear review petitions against its verdict, which lifted the ban on entry of women of all ages, on 22 January 2019.

“Supreme Court has admitted the review petitions and said all the review petitions to be heard on January 22 in the open court,” Advocate Mathew Nedumpara told ANI.

Basis of Prohibition Was Physiological Nature of Women

The petitioners pointed out that Court wrongly concluded that the basis of prohibition was physiological nature of women, Live Law reported.

According to the review petitioners,the practise was rooted in the “naishtika brahmachari” character of deity, as per which the deity cannot be in the presence of women. The practise is therefore not derogatory to the dignity of women.

Thanthri Family Head Welcomes SC's Decision

Sabarimala thanthri family head Kandararu Rajeevaru has told reports that he welcomes the SC's decision to hear arguments in open court, The News Minute reported.

No Stay on Court's Previous Order

The order stated that there is no stay of the judgment and order of this Court dated 28th September, 2018.

Copy of the order
Copy of the order
(Photo: The Quint)

Will Go to Sabarimala Between 16-20 November

Activist Trupti Desai told CNN-News18 that she will go to Sabarimala temple between 16-20 November.

CM Vijayan Holding Review Meet on Sabarimala

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan is holding a review meeting on Sabarimala preparations, CNN-News18 reported. Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran and other departments too are present in the meeting.

Vijayan has said that the Supreme Court order of September 28 will be implemented. "Government will decide the new developments," said Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPM state secretary, as quoted by

Will Stand Guard Outside Sabarimala Till 22 January: Rahul Easwar

Activist Rahul Easwar said his outfit would stand guard outside the temple till January 22 when the apex court would hear the review petitions, The Indian Express reported.

"Kerala government must cooperate with pilgrims. Devotees will naturally react against any attempt to violate traditions. We will stand guard outside Sabarimala till 22 January when the SC hears the review petition," he said.

Protests Will Continue if Govt Tries to Break Rituals: RSS

"Protests to continue if government trying to break the rituals,"RSS leader Valsan Thillankery said after the SC agreed to hear review pleas in Sabarimala temple case, reported.

Govt Will Decide Further Action in Consultation with Legal Experts: CM

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, after the review meet over SC’s decision on Sabarimala, said that the government will discuss with legal experts and move forward.

“SC has clearly said that its verdict allowing entry of women between age groups 10-50 yrs to Sabarimala temple stands. Review petitions will be heard on 22 January, after the 'Makaravilakku' season ends on 21 January. Government will discuss with legal experts and move forward,” he said.

Verdict a Victory for Lord Ayyapa's Devotees: BJP

BJP Kerala Gen Secy K. Surendran said that the verdict is a victory for the devotees.

“It's an initial victory of Lord Ayappa devotees. We are hopeful of overcoming the SC verdict when review petitions are heard. We will continue our fight till the end,” he said.

SC Refuses Urgent Hearing, To Hear Matter on 22 January Only

The Supreme Court has refused to give an urgent hearing to a mentioning by a lawyer, seeking a stay on the September 28 verdict allowing entry of women in age groups 10-50 years in Sabarimala Temple.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, "We'll hear the matter only on January 22."

Kerala CM Calls For All-Party Meet

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called for an all-party meeting to discuss the issues related to Sabarimala Temple ahead of the pilgrim season, reported news agency ANI. The meeting is slated to take place on Tuesday, 15 November.

Trupti Desai to Visit Temple on 17 November, Seeks Security

Trupti Desai, founder of the Bhumata Brigade, has written to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan seeking security for visiting to Sabrimala Temple on 17 November, reported news agency ANI.

“... A total number of 7 ladies, including myself, are entering the temple,” Desai wrote in the letter. “Some devotees of Ayyappa Swamy/some party activists may try to create a disturbance. And they can put blame on us that we are responsible for these disturbances. Therefore, the request of police to closely monitor everybody's action (sic),” the letter added.

Kerala CM Calls for Meeting with Tantri Family

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called for a meeting with Pandalam Palace and Tantri Family at 3.30 pm on Thursday, 14 November.

Trupti Desai & Rahul Easwar Lock Horns Over Sabarimala Entry

Woman activist Trupti Desai waded into the Sabarimala issue when she asked for complete police protection during her visit to the temple starting Friday, 16 November. But temple activist Rahul Eashwar promised to fight her tooth-and-nail to prevent her entry, saying that he and others, along with Lord Ayyappa's devotees, would ensure that none were able to break the tradition of the temple. "We will lie down before the women who come to break the temple's tradition."

(Source: The News Minute)

Not Received Any Response From Kerala Govt: Trupti Desai

Trupti Desai says she has not received any response from the Kerala government after she urged the chief minister in Kerala to provide her security ahead of her 17 November visit to the Sabarimala temple.

She told ANI, “I have not received any response from the Kerala government. If any incident occurs, its responsibility will be on Kerala CM and DGP.”

Congress, BJP Walkout Of All-Party Meet On Sabarimala Temple

Congress party, BJP walked out of the all-party meeting held on 15 November to discuss concerns over the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of all women to the Sabarimala temple.

Kerala CM Meets Tantri & Pandalam Family

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday met Pandalam and Kandaru Rajeevaru (Sabarimala Head Priest) to discuss concerns over the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of all women to the Sabarimala temple.

The Sabarimala shrine will open tomorrow evening for 64 days for the annual Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage.

"We must ensure that women during periods don't come to Sabarimala Temple," said Pandalam member Shashi Verma after meeting Kerala CM. He further added that the CM has also asked them to take matter in their own hands as the government cannot legally do anything,

Earlier, both the head priest and Pandalam Family along with BJP protested against the entry of women inside the temple.

Protesters Gather Outside Cochin Airport as Activist Lands

Protesters outside the Cochin Airport.
Protesters outside the Cochin Airport.
(Photo: ANI)

Protesters have gathered outside the Cochin International Airport where social activist Trupti Desai, has landed amid heightened security. She will attempt to reach the Sabarimala temple at 7 am on 17 November.

Activist Trupti Desai reached the International Airport in the early hours of Friday, 16 November to visit the Sabarimala temple but she could not come out of the domestic terminal following protest by devotees opposing the entry of menstrual women into the Lord Ayyappa temple.

Tension prevailed at the airport as protesters announced that Desai and her colleagues, who reached here at around 4.40 am from Pune, would not be allowed to go out of the airport.

The temple opens Friday evening, for the third time since the apex court verdict on September 28 allowed women of all age group to offer prayers at the hilltop Lord Ayyappa temple though none could do so following stiff resistance from devotees and activists, opposing any change in the temple traditions.

Receiving Threats Since Yesterday: Trupti Desai Leaves for Sabarimala

(Photo: ANI)

Social Activist Trupti Desai, who had had written to Kerala CM seeking security for her visit to the Sabrimala Temple on 17 November left for Kerala in the wee hours of Friday, 16 November, news agency ANI reported. She will attempt to reach the temple on Saturday, 17 November.

Team of 7 women will visit the temple. I have been receiving threats since yesterday. I believe government will provide us security.
Trupti Desai to ANI

Won't Allow Trupti Desai to Leave Airport: BJP Worker

MN Gopi, BJP district secretary, told ANI that activist Trupti Desai will not be allowed to leave the airport using police vehicle or other government means. He also threatened of staging protests all along the way if Desai manages to get out of the airport.


Section 144 Imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidhanam

Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than 4 people in an area, has been imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidhanam as Sabrimala Temple reopens today for devotees, reported ANI.


Trupti Held at the Airport for over 6 Hours now, Eats Breakfast Inside Premises

Forced to stay inside the airport by protestors, activist Trupti Desai was seen eating breakfast inside the premises of Cochin International Airport.

(Photo: ANI)

Trek to Sabarimala to Commence at 1 PM

Bus services ferrying devotees to Lord Ayyappa’s shrine from Nilakkal will start at 12 pm today. Alongside, pilgrims will be allowed to begin their trek from Pamba at 1 pm, reported News18.


Taxi Drivers Have Been Threatened: Trupti Desai

Adamant about not going back without entering the temple, Trupti Desai told News18 that the taxi drivers have been told not to give them a ride as they have been threatened.

“Police have tried their best to get us out of the airport but they have not been successful. I’m not going back, we will enter Sabarimala,” Desai told News18.


Trupti Must Find Her Car & Stay; Can Only Provide Security: Cops

Talking to The News Minute, cops in Sabarimala have said that the Right to Pray activist Trupti Desai will have to find a car and accommodation for herself if she wants to visit Sabarimala.

The top police official also said that they have decided that once Trupti arranges her car and accommodation, they will provide security for her to reach the temple.

Women’s rights activist Trupti Desai (R) and other women pilgrims wait at the Cochin International Airport after protesters blocked the arrival gate. 
Women’s rights activist Trupti Desai (R) and other women pilgrims wait at the Cochin International Airport after protesters blocked the arrival gate. 
(Photo: PTI)

Tempers Flare as Desai Irks Devotees

Accusing activist Trupti Desai of shredding Hindu tradition a step a time, BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya has called Desai out for contesting elections for Congress in the past.

This is the third time the shrine is opening since the apex court lifted the age-old ban on entry of women in 10-50 age group, though no girl or woman pilgrim in the age group could offer prayers so far following stiff resistance by devotees and activists, opposing any change in the temple traditions.


Unprecedented Security in Sabarimala, Trupti Desai Held up at the Airport

Heavy deployment of police personnel can be seen in and around the Sabarimala temple, which is scheduled to open at 5 pm this evening. Lord Ayyappa's temple will be gearing up for the "Mandala Makkaravillakku" puja in the backdrop of protests that had erupted on at least two previous occasions when the shrine had opened earlier.

The security arrangements in and around the pilgrimage were intensified hours before the shrine opens again for pilgrimage. 
The security arrangements in and around the pilgrimage were intensified hours before the shrine opens again for pilgrimage. 
(Photo: PTI)

Over 15,000 police personnel including 860 women civil police officers would be deployed during the season, when the shrine is expected to be thronged by lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses will transport the pilgrims to Pamba, about 20 km from here, and no private vehicles will be allowed.


"Trupti Will Have To Step on Our Chests, Walk Over Us to Enter Sabarimala": Rahul Easwar

Activist Rahul Easwar said that Trupti Desai will have to walk over the protesters’ chests and walk over them to enter Sabarimala.

“Trupti Desai should go back. She will have to step on our chests and walk over us if she wants to enter Sabarimala Temple,” he said.

Devotees Throng Pamba Base Camp

Lord Ayyappa devotees throng the Pamba base camp in Pathanamthitta as they begin trekking to the Sabarimala Temple.

Sabarimala Temple Gates Open Amid Protests Against Trupti Desai

Sabarimala Temple opens for the third time since the SC lifted the ban on women’s entry, even as furore over Trupti Desai’s decision to enter the temple tomorrow continues.

Devaswom Board to Move SC

The Devaswom board will move the Supreme Court to demand more time for implementation of the court’s order allowing entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple, CNN-News18 reported.

Protests Against Trupti Desai Continue

Sabarimala Karma Samithi holds protests against Trupti Desai in Trivandrum.

Trupti Desai Returns to Pune, Not Allowed to Proceed to Sabarimala

Trupti Desai to return to her hometown Pune tonight. She has been at the Kochi airport since morning as protesters did not allow her to proceed to Sabarimala temple.

(Source: ANI)

Sad to See People Calling Themselves Ayappa Devotees Are Threatening Us: Trupti Desai

Trupti Desai, while addressing the media at the airport said that she was sad to see the so called Ayappa devotees threaten her.

“Protestors threatened taxi drivers from providing us services. Hotel staff was threatened of damage to hotels if rooms were given to us. It saddens me to see that people who call themselves Ayyappa devotees are abusing and threatening us,” she said.


Trupti Desai Faces Protests at Mumbai

Protesters gathered outside Mumbai airport on Friday night, as activist Trupti Desai arrived there from Kochi.

“Trust Desai should try going there (to Sabarimala) after attaining 50 years of age and not before that. She won’t be allowed to step inside the temple before that. There are so many devotees working towards this and stopping other women too.”
Protesters outside Mumbai airport, as quoted by ANI

The activist was at Kochi airport for the entire day on Friday as protesters did not allow her to proceed to the Sabarimala Temple.

Sabarimala Karma Samithi Calls Statewide Shutdown

Sabarimala Karma Samithi called for a statewide shutdown on Saturday, 17 November, from 6 am to 6 pm, in protest against the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi state president KP Sasikala at Marakkoottam on Friday night.

She was going to Sannidhanam and was arrested after she protested when police didn't allow her to travel at night.


Devotees Begin Trek From Pampa to Sabarimala

Lord Ayyappa devotees began the trek from Pampa to the Sabarimala Temple on Saturday, 17 November.

The temple was opened on Friday for the 62-day long Mandala Pooja-Magaravilaku annual pilgrimage season.

Kerala Govt Wants to Destroy Sabarimala: BJP State President

Condemning the police action, BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai on Saturday, 17 November, said that the state government's effort is to "destroy" the Sabarimala pilgrimage.

"Government wants to destroy the traditions of Sabarimala. Why was Sasikala and Sudheer arrested? The BJP will strengthen its protests and support the hartal," Pillai told reporters at Kozhikode.


Drones Deployed for Security Surveillance in Pampa

The security forces deplyed drones for security surveillance as devotees thronged to Pampa base came to trek to Sabarimala Temple on Saturday, 17 November.

The temple opened on Friday for 62-day long Mandala Pooja-Magaravilaku annual pilgrimage season.

(Photo: ANI)

Travancore Devaswom Board to Move SC on Monday

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala shrine, would move the Supreme Court on Monday, 19 November, seeking more time to implement its order allowing women of menstrual age to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The TDB's move comes a day after the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, at an all-party meeting, took a firm stand that it was bound to implement the top court order and rejected suggestions by opposition parties that it seek time from the court.

BJP Leader K Surendran Not Allowed to Go to Sabarimala

BJP leader K Surendran not allowed to go towards Sabarimala Temple. He has been taken into custody at Nilakkal, reported ANI.

BJP Leader Remanded to 14-Day Judicial Custody, Moved to Sub Jail

BJP Kerala General Secretary K Surendran, who was taken into preventive custody as he tried to proceed to the Lord Ayappa Temple, was produced before a magistrate on Sunday, 18 November, and remanded to 14-day judicial custody after he was charged with non-bailable offences.

Surendran, who had 'Irrumudikettu" (holy bundle of offerings for Lord Ayyappa) was taken into custody from Nilackal Saturday night as he along with two others was on his way to the temple at Sabarimala.

Surendran was asked by Superintendent of Police Yatish Chandra not to proceed towards Sabarimala but he did not heed. They were then taken into preventive custody and brought to Chittar Police Station on Saturday night.

Early today, they were taken to Pathnamthitta district hospital and then produced before the Pathnamthitta judicial first class magistrate at his residence.

The magistrate remanded them to 14-day judicial custody.

BJP Workers Begin Protests Against Leader's Arrest

BJP workers in Kerala blocked highways on Sunday, 18 November, to protest the arrest of party general secretary Surendran, who was taken into custody on Saturday, 17 November, while on his way to the Lord Ayappa shrine.

The protesters, including women, squatted on roads, blocking traffic at various places, including in state capital, Kochi, Thrissur, Palakkad and in front of Kottarakara sub-jail, where Surendran has been lodged, and also the northernmost Kasaragod district.

In all the places, the protesters were seen clapping and chanting "Swamiyae Ayyappa".

68 Devotees Taken Into Preventive Custody

68 people were taken into preventive custody at the Sabarimala Temple late Sunday night after fresh protests broke out at Nadapanthal area in Sannidhanam where hundreds of devotees agitated against the police restrictions.

Gross Violation of Sabarimala Devotees Human Rights: Kerala HRC

Observing that there was a gross violation of human rights of Sabarimala devotees, the Kerala Human Rights Commisison (KHRC) Sunday directed the TDB, DGP and Local Self Government Department to ensure that basic facilities were provided to pilgrims at the temple complex.

Acting on a complaint, the commission said there was a gross human rights violations at Sabarimala Sannidhanam, Nilackal and Pamba.

The officials have been asked to file a report within two weeks, Commission member P Mohandas said. The Ayyappa devotees visiting the shrine have been denied all basic amenities, the commission said.

Female Aikya Vedi Leader Arrested; Protests Break Out

Hindu Aikya Vedi secretary K P Sasikala, 56, was arrested by the police and kept in preventive custody at the Ranni police station. Sasikala, who is also known for her communally provocative speeches, had been stopped and booked at Marakkoottam, on her way to the Sannidhanam in Sabarimala, early on Saturday, 17 November, after she refused to go back, despite being told by the police.

Sasikala, in turn, had claimed she was a devotee and that she should be allowed to proceed. She was arrested around 1.40 am on Saturday and taken to to Ranni in a police jeep. With Sangh Parivar members holding a protest right outside the police station where she is detained, reports claim that Sasikala is observing some kind of fast inside the jail, The Indian Express reported.

Union Minister KJ Alphons to Visit Sabarimala Today

Union Minister KJ Alphons is expected to visit the Sabarimala temple on Monday, 19 November, to study the facilities that are meant for the pilgrims, in an attempt to review them. Alphons’ visit to Sabarimala comes amid protests against about 68 people being taken into preventive custody by the police, NDTV reported.

Travancore Board Moves SC Seeking More Time to Implement Order

The Travancore Board, which is responsible for running the temple, approached the Supreme Court on Monday, 19 November, seeking more time to implement its September order which lifted the ban on women of menstruating age from entering the temple, NDTV reported.

The plea referred to the lack of basic amenities, among other factors, as reasons for deferring the implementation.

Kerala Cops Allow Sasikala to Visit Temple

Kerala police on Monday, 19 November, morning let the president of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, KP Sasikala, visit Sabarimala for her grandson’s ‘choroottu’ (rice feeding ceremony).

She has been ordered to return from the temple within 6 hours.

Union Minister KJ Alphons Reaches Sabarimala

Union Minister Union minister KJ Alphons has also arrived at the inner courtyard (Sannidhnam) of the Sabarimala temple.

Opposition Leader Asks If State Under "Rule Of Hitler"

Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala attacked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the police action against Lord Ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala Sannidhanam – the inner courtyard of the temple – and asked if the state was under the rule of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

“It is police high-handedness. Innocent devotees who sought shelter at Valiya Nadappandhal (covered pathway) were also arrested. They all are not Sangh Parivar activists who reached there to create trouble. Is Kerala under the rule of Hitler?" Chennithala told reporters in Kochi.

CM Justifies Police Action, Blames RSS For Stirring Trouble

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, 19 November, justified police action in Sabarimala, saying those who tried to create trouble were arrested on Sunday, 18 November, night even as he accused the Sangh Parivar of implementing its agenda.

"They were not Ayyappa devotees. RSS workers were camping at Sannidhanam with a motive to create trouble. The government cannot let anyone create trouble at Sabarimala," the chief minister said at the state conference of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ).

68 persons were taken into custody from the Ayyappa temple complex in the early hours and brought to the Manniyar camp.

Amit Shah Slams Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

In a series of tweets, Amit Shah has asserted that the BJP holds the Sabrimala tradition close to their hearts and that Kerala Chief Minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan is "mistaken" in arresting K Surendran, BJP's Thissur District President.

Shah has also accused Pinarayi Vijayan of treating Ayappa devotees "like inmates of Gulag" and and "forcing" young girls and mothers of taking "the ardous pilgrimage" without basic facilities.

Sabarimala Issue is Getting Out of Hand, Says Congress Leader Chandy

Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy on Tuesday, 20 November, accused the Left-led government in Kerala of handling the issue at the Sabarimala temple ineptly and said the hilltop shrine to Lord Ayyappa has suffered badly because of the controversy, Hindustan Times reported.

The Congress leader said the government was treating devotees trekking to the Sabarimala temple as terrorists. “All are in a race to make their trekking miserable,” he said.

Kerala HC Asks Govt to Explain Imposition of Section 144

The Kerala High Court, on Wednesday 21 November asked the state government to explain the imposition of Section 144. The court asked the Kerala governemnt to explain in detail how is section 144 being implemented in the area.

BJP Leader K Surendran Granted Bail by Thiruvalla Court

 BJPs Kerala state general secretary K Surendran being taken into preventive detention near Sabarimala on Saturday, 17 November.
BJPs Kerala state general secretary K Surendran being taken into preventive detention near Sabarimala on Saturday, 17 November.
(Photo: PTI)

BJP leader K Surendran, who was taken into custody last week at Nilakkal for moving towards the Sabarimala Temple, has been granted bail by the Thiruvalla Court in Kerala, news agency ANI reported.

After HC Enquiry, Kerala Govt Removes Section 144 at Sabarimala

The Kerala government on Wednesday repealed restrictions imposed on Sabarimala and its surrounding areas after the Kerala High Court questioned the government about its reasons for doing so, The News Minute reported.

The court, which heard three different petitions on the alleged police excesses to ensure security and enforcement of restrictions in the area, asked the Pathanamthitta district administration to produce documents which explained the reason behind the need to take such action.

Following violent protests at the temple after the 28 September Supreme Court verdict which allowed women of all ages entry into Sabarimala, the Pinarayi Vijayan government imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (prohibitory orders) at the Sannidhanam, Nilakkal, Pamba, Elavugal etc, banning more than 3 to 4 people assembling in these areas.

Kerala CM Meets Governor

Kerala Governor Rtd Justice P Sathasivam met with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss the Sabarimala issue.

According to India Today, the meeting between the two at Rajbhavan lasted for 30 minutes during which Sathasivam expressed his concerns over the ongoing controversy.

4 Women Seek Protection to Enter Sabarimala

Four women filed petition at Kerala HC seeking police protection to go to Sabarimala darshan and sought directions from court for state government to ensure the protection to them who are facing life threat. They also demanded particular days reserved for only women's entry in the temple.

Contempt Petition Filed Against Kerala BJP Prez, Sabarimala Priest

A contempt petition was filed in SC against BJP Kerala President, PS Sreedharan Pillai, Sabarimala temple priest and three others.

Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta declined to give sanction to file the petition, so the petitioners filed the application directly in the SC.

Steady Flow of Pilgrims at Shrine, CM Slams Sangh Parivar

The Sabarimala shrine witnessed a steady flow of devotees Friday, 23 November, even as Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan came out in support of a senior IPS officer who was allegedly embroiled in a spat with Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan two days ago.

Backing Superintendent of Police Yatish Chandra, who has been facing backlash from right-wing activists for allegedly insulting Radhakrishnan, Vijayan alleged the Sangh Parivar was "attacking sincere officers to demoralise them."

“Only VIP vehicles are allowed to Pamba from Nilackal. This is due to the peculiar situation at Sabarimala. However, the people accompanying the union minister wanted their private vehicles to be allowed till Pamba. The officer was politely explaining the situation,” Vijayan told reporters at Thiruvanathapuram.

"The Sangh Parivar has been attacking police officials who have been doing sincere work to demoralise them," Vijayan said.

2 Days Can Be Set Apart for Women to Pray at Sabarimala: Kerala Govt Tells HC

Amid the stand-off over entry of women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa temple, the Kerala government Friday, 23 November, informed the High Court that two days could be set apart for women pilgrims of all ages to offer prayers at the Sabarimala hill shrine.

The suggestion was made when the court was hearing a petition moved by four women devotees seeking protection for women of all age groups to offer prayers at the shrine besides facilities for smooth pilgrimage in the wake of the recent Supreme Court judgement.

In their PIL, the four women, in their 20s and 30s, suggested devoting two to three days exclusively to women of all ages "who are desirous to go to Sabarimala after ridding the shrine, its premises and nearby towns from the goons and henchmen" opposing entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

BJP Bandh to Condemn Kerala Cops' "Disrespectful" Behaviour Towards Radhakrishnan

The Bharatiya Janata Party Friday, 23 November, observed a dawn-to-dusk bandh in this district, to condemn the "disrespectful" behaviour of police towards Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan while he was en route to Sabarimala two days ago. Most shops remained closed.

BJP workers shouted slogans against the Kerala government and its police.

They also blocked some Kerala State Transport Corporation Buses for sometime before police persuaded them to disperse.

At Gudalur in Theni district, some BJP workers blocked a KSRTC bus for an hour before police intervened.

Radhakrishnan's Sabarimala visit got entangled in a controversy after the BJP alleged that a senior IPS officer Yatish Chandra allegedly behaved arrogantly" with the minister Wednesday.

Court Gives Kelala Govt, Devaswom Board 2 Weeks to Reply to Swamy's Plea

The Supreme Court gives two more weeks to Kerala government and Devaswom board to file replies to petition by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, CNN-News18 reported. Swamy had sought abolition of the board and the removal of control of state government over Hindu temples.

Activist Rehana Fathima Arrested for Allegedly 'Hurting Religious Sentiments'

Activist Rehana Fathima, who had attempted to enter the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala when it opened for monthly puja last month, was arrested on Tuesday, 27 November for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her Facebook posts, police said.

Fathima, 32, was arrested from office in Palarivattom in Kochi, a police officer said.

The activist, a BSNL employee, was booked by police in Pathanamthitta on a complaint by Radhakrishna Menon, alleging that some of her Facebook posts hurt religious sentiments.

She was booked under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code -- deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

She was later taken to Pathanamathitta after her arrest, police said.

A controversy had erupted in Kerala after Fathima made an attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple when it was opened for monthly puja in October following the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women in the age group of 10-50.

Kerala HC Rules out 'Nama Japa' Police Order

Kerala High Court on Tuesday, 27 November, ruled out the police order that 'Nama Japa'(continuous repetition of God's name) should not be conducted at Sannidhanam, reported ANI.

Furthermore, the state’s court has appointed three observers in Sabarimala case to assess the situation.

No Protests, Demonstrations at Sabarimala: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday, 27 November ordered that no protests or demonstrations should be held at Sabarimala, holding that it was not a place for such activities.

The court also set aside the 'unilateral' restrictions imposed by police on the devotees in Sannidhanam temple complex and appointed a three-member team as its observers there during the ongoing Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season.

Considering a batch of petitions on the Sabarimala issue, a division bench comprising justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar said that no protests or demonstrations should be held at the Sannidhanam as it was not a place for such activities.

The court also modified the restrictions imposed on chanting Ayyappa mantra as well as a ban imposed on halting at the Sannidhanam.

It said that women, children and the physically challenged can halt at the complex.

Repeal Section 144 In and Around Sabarimala, Demands Opposition

Even as Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan attempted to answer questions regarding the Disaster Relief Fund, the Opposition raised slogans in the well of Kerala Assembly, demanding a repeal of Section 144 and prohibitory orders in and around Sabarimala.

Erstwhile Kerala Congress MLA PC George and BJP’s O Rajagopal arrived at the Assembly dressed in the black garb of Ayyappa devotees as a sign of protest, reported The News Minute.

BJP to Send Four-Member Delegation to Assess Sabarimala 'Agitation'

A four-member delegation formed by BJP chief Amit Shah will visit Sabarimala to get a first hand account of the atrocities allegedly being carried out against the ‘satyagrahis’. It will also assess “indiscriminate arrests being made by police during the agitation.”

BJP general secretary Saroj Pandey, national president of the party’s Schedule Caste morcha Vinod Sonkar, members of Parliament Pralhad Joshi and Nalin Kumar Kateel are the members of the delegation, and they will submit a report within 15 days to the party chief, said the BJP in a statement on Tuesday, 27 November.

Two Women Pilgrims Under 50 Forced to Return by Protesting Pilgrims

Two young women from Andhra Pradesh, who were on their way to offer prayers at the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa, managed to reach about a kilometer from the Sannidhanam (temple complex), but returned following protests from pilgrims, police said.

Three Ayyappa pilgrims, who were among those who protested, have been arrested in this connection, they said.

The women – Navojamma (26) and Kripavathi (42) from Guntur and Godavari districts respectively, had reached Marakootam when some Ayyappa pilgrims, who were returning from the shrine after prayers, protested and chanted 'Ayyappa mantras' police said.

While Navojamma had come with a 40-member group, Kripavathi had come to the shrine in another group, comprising 15 members, police said.

The women returned without trekking to the holy shrine, they said to PTI.

Kerala High Court Appointed Panel to Visit Sabarimala

A three-member panel of observers appointed by the Kerala High Court will visit the Sabarimala temple on Monday. The two-day visit is to check whether there are adequate facilities, reported The New Indian Express.

Kerala Assembly Adjourned Following Protests by Opposition

Kerala Assembly has been adjourned for the day following protests by the opposition leaders in the Assembly over the Sabarimala matter.

Kerala Min Against Using Children as 'Shield' in Sabarimala Stir

Cautioning against using children as 'shield' during agitations including the recent Sabarimala stir, Kerala Social Justice Minister K K Shylaja Wednesday said the state government would have to take action against such practices.

The minister told the state Assembly that causing difficulties to children by engaging them in protests was against the Juvenile Justice Act and amounted to violation of Protection of Child Rights Act.

"Children were being used as shields in several agitations including in the recent Sabarimala stir.

(Source: PTI)

BJP's K Surendran's Remand Extended to 20 Dec

BJP Leader K Surendran's remnad extended for 14 days. The Supreme Court said that Surendran will remain in judicial custody till 20 December.

(Source: News18)

SC Refuses Urgent Hearing of Kerala Govt's Plea

Supreme Court refuses to give an urgent hearing to a mentioning by the Kerala government, seeking a stay on the observation committee in Sabarimala temple issue.

(Source: ANI)

K Surendran Granted Conditional Bail

Kerala High Court grants conditional bail to BJP Kerala General Secretarty K Surendran on a bond of Rs. 2 Lakh. He will not enter Pathanamthitta district till the submission of the final report.

(Source: ANI)

Man Sets Himself Ablaze Near Sabarimala Protest Venue

A 49-year-old man, Venugopalan Nair, set himself ablaze near BJP's Sabarimala protest venue, in front of the Kerala Secretariat, at around 1:30 am Thursday, 13 December. He is undergoing treatment at Thiruvananthapuram Medical college.

Kerala Court Extends Prohibitory Orders in Sabarimala Temple Till 22 December

The Pathanamthitta Magistrate Court has extended the prohibitory orders in Sabarimala temple till the midnight of 22 December. The decision has been taken based on the reports by the District Police Chief and Executive magistrates in Pamba and Sannidhanam, reported ANI.

11 Women Try to Trek Sabarimala; Tension Prevails in Pamba

Tension prevailed at Pamba, the foothills of the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Kerala, on Sunday, 23 December, morning as a group of 11 women, below the age of 50 years, tried to trek the hilltop shrine, even as devotees protested against the move.

Though they attempted to trek through the traditional forest path, about five kilometres from the temple complex, they could not go forward as devotees started 'namajapa' (chanting of hymns of the lord) protest against them.

The women, members of the Chennai-based "Manithi" outfit, are now squatting on the road. Police have thrown a security ring around them.

"We will continue the protest till we can visit the temple and offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa. Police asked us to go back, citing security reasons. But we will not go," Thilakavathi, one of the members of the group, told a television channel.

Police Not Providing Protection: Woman Devotee

Selvi, member of the women's devotees group who is currently at Pampa base camp to trek to Sabarimala temple alleged that the police were not providing them protection.

“We are here since 3.30 am. Police had said that they will provide us with protection but now they are not providing us protection to trek to the temple,” said Selvi to ANI.

Pampa Police Detain Protestors

Police at Pampa detained Lord Ayyappa devotees protesting against the entry of women devotees to Sabarimala temple, reported ANI.

“Eleven women devotees had come to offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple. But they were stopped by other pilgrims. The women devotees have returned now. We can’t use force. It might create a law and order problem.”
Shaji Sugunan, Special Officer, Law and Order, Pampa

Denied Sabarimala Darshan, TN Women Devotees Forced to Leave

A group of 11 Tamil women devotees were forced to leave Pamba on Sunday, 23 December, after protests turned violent and police took two dozen protesters into custody.

Led by Selvi, an activist belonging to the Manithi Women's group in Tamil Nadu, the women from the hitherto banned age group were forced to leave Pamba for Madurai after Ayyappa devotees chased them away from ascending the hill, reported IANS.

2 Women Stopped at Appachimedu Near Sabarimala

Two Kerala women devotees from the hitherto banned age group were stopped barely two kilometers from the Sabarimala temple- at Appachimedu, by thousands of protesters, who had to be lathi-charged by the police as tension broke out in the early hours of Monday, 24 December.

The women- Bindu from Malappuram and Durga of Kozhikode, were on their way to the hilltop shrine in Kerala under heavy police protection. After being stopped at Appachimedu, the two women went on to reach Marakootam, about a kilometer from the Sannidhanam, where they were waiting for more police personnel to accompany them.

The two women had begun their trek towards Sabarimala in the early hours of Monday. Following the news of their journey towards the shrine, Lord Ayyappa devotees held protests in Perinthalmanna & Malappuram, outside the residence of Bindu.

First Phase of Annual Pilgrim Season Comes to an End on 27 Dec

The first phase of the 41-day long annual pilgrim season at the Lord Ayyappa temple will come to an end on 27 December, with a puja.

2 Woman Devotees Brought Back to Pampa Base Camp

The two women devotees from Kerala, who were stopped by protesters in Appachimedu near Sabarimala, are now being brought back to Pampa base camp, following a greater outbreak of protests, after the police cited a law and order situation, The News Minute reported.

“We don’t want to go down. But since the police have said that there is a law and order situation, they should promise to bring us back to the temple another time when the situation is better.”
One of the women, Bindu, told TNM

The two women decided to abandon their plan, following the growing number of protests against their journey and after one of them- Durga- fainted in the course of the journey, Matrabhumi reported.

Upon their return, BJP workers were seen still holding protests against them.

Govt Cheated Us: Dalit Activist Who Was Turned Away From Sabarimala

Ammini, a Dalit activist, who along with four other women had been turned away by angry protesters, minutes before reaching the Pamba base camp on Sunday, 23 December, told The News Minute that despite her group having informed the Kerala government about their intention to visit the shrine- including the date and time- it did not provide adequate security.

“We had asked the government for a suitable date to visit the temple. If December 23 was not convenient, they could have told us before and given another date. They have cheated us and insulted us now. It is negligence towards women.”
Ammini told The News Minute

BJP Workers Protest Against 'Manithi' Women Activists at TVM Railway Station

BJP workers on Monday, 24 December, raised slogans at the railway station in Thiruvananthapuram against three women activists of Chennai-based outfit 'Manithi', who were returning to Tamil Nadu in the afternoon, after a vain bid to trek to the hill shrine of Sabarimala.

BJP workers on Monday, raised slogans at the railway station in Thiruvananthapuram against three women activists of Chennai-based outfit ‘Manithi’, who were returning to Tamil Nadu in the afternoon. 
BJP workers on Monday, raised slogans at the railway station in Thiruvananthapuram against three women activists of Chennai-based outfit ‘Manithi’, who were returning to Tamil Nadu in the afternoon. 
(Photo: ANI)

The three women volunteers had come to the capital city, reportedly to meet Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a day after 11-members of the outfit unsuccessfully tried to make their way up the hills to the Lord Ayyappa shrine on Sunday, 23 December.

However, since the chief minister was away at Kozhikode, the meeting did not take place, official sources said

Police Unable to Give Security to Activists at Sabarimala: Reports

Several sections of Malayalam media are reporting that officers of the Kerala police have told the senior leadership of the police department that they will not be able to provide security to ‘activists’ who want to enter the Sabarimala temple, owing to the major law and order challenges that they are facing on the ground.

The police are also reported to have said that they will not allow anyone with criminal cases against them to enter the temple.

As per these media reports, not verified by TNM independently, police officials deployed at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam have given a report to the DGP stating that it is not practical to allow women to enter the temple when it is crowded. The report also states that any attempts to allow women to enter the temple in the coming days will aggravate the situation.

Volunteers Line Up With Lamps to Counter Woman's Wall Across Kerala

Thousands of people, including a large number of women, were seen lighting lamps along several stretches that connected north and south Kerala, in an apparent political message to the Kerala government.

The Sabarimala Karma Samithi, backed by the BJP, organised Ayyappa Jyothi, an event to counter the Kerala government's Women's Wall, which is an attempt to raise awareness about the LDF government’s stand on the Sabarimala case and to counter the Sangh Parivar’s protests against women entry to the shrine.

(Source: The News Minute)

Two Women Enter Sabarimala Temple: Reports

Two women, below the age of 50, reportedly entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday, 2 January.

Women Reportedly Offered Prayers at 3:45 AM

The two women devotees, Bindu and Kanakdurga, entered and offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple at 3.45am on 2 January, reported ANI.

The women, reportedly in their 40s, were accompanied by police personnel. They had earlier tried to enter the temple in December 2018, but were stopped due to massive protests, reported ANI.

No Protests in Any Form: Woman Who Claim to Have Entered Sabarimala

Speaking to News18, one of the women who entered the temple said that they did not face protest of “any form.”

Kerala CM Confirms

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that women devotees entered Sabarimala temple, reported News18.

Condemn Govt, Police Conspiracy: Easwar

Rahul Easwar tweeted that he condemned the Kerala government, alleging police conspiracy in allowing the two women to enter Sabarimala.

Sabarimala Temple Shut for 'Purification'

The Sabarimala temple in Kerala has been shut for purification rituals, after two women entered the temple in the earlier in the day.

Sabarimala Shut for 'Purification'

The sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was shut for “purification rituals”, after two women entered the temple in the earlier in the day.

The sanctum sanctorum was closed at 10.30 am as opposed to 1pm, when it is usually shut, reported The News Minute.

While there is a pooja that is held at 12.40 pm usually, all priests have exited the sanctum sanctorum with the maelshanti (chief priest) going to the Thantri’s room, the report said.

Security Tightened Outside Bindu's Residence

Security has been tightened in outside Bindu’s residence in Koyilandy. The house is locked and Bindu's husband Hariharan and their seven-year-old daughter are away, reported Manorama News.

Our Responsibility to Ensure Safety: Kerala DGP

Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera said that it was the “responsibility of police to provide protection” to those who visited the Sabarimala.

“Verifying the age and other details is not our responsibility,” said the DGP, speaking to ANI.

Follow our India section for more stories.

Also Watch