Melsanthi Unnikrishnan Nampoothiri opens the Sabarimala temple for the five-day monthly pooja in the Malayalam month of ‘Thulam’. (Source: PTI)

Sabarimala Row: Protesters Prevent Women From Entering The Temple

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Two Women Return As Protests Block Entry

Two Women Attempt To Trek Sabarimala Hills Amid Strong Protests

An entry point near the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on Friday virtually turned into an area of confrontation.

A large number of devotees opposing the entry of women of the menstrual age group blocked two women -- a reporter from Hyderabad and another said to be an activist from Kerala.

Inspector General S Sreejith heading a team of police personnel providing security cover to the women assured the protesting devotees chanting Ayyappa mantra that they would not like to move forward to the Sannidhanam with the women, hurting the sentiments of devotees.

Amid mounting pressure, Devaswom Minster Kadakampally Surendran said the activists should not try to make the holy land of Ayyappa a place to prove their strength.

The police is holding discussions with the women who still insist they should reach the shrine.

Woman Journalist Forced To Turn Back By Devotees

A Delhi-based woman journalist of a foreign media outlet who trekked the Sabarimala hill was Thursday stopped midway by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

The journalist accompanied by her male colleague, a foreigner, descended the hills from Marakkoottam area in the face of mounting protest by the Ayyappa devotees.

A case has been registered against devotees who allegedly prevented her trekking and forced her to climb down the hills.

The journalist later said she and her colleague decided to return after they were stopped by an "aggressive mob" which hurled stones at them. A stone hit her on the shoulder, she said.

Centre Asks Kerala Government To Ensure Peace

The Centre has asked the Kerala government to ensure peace across the state following protests against the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala temple, officials said.

In an advisory, the Home Ministry said the maintenance of law and order, including providing security to women wishing to visit the temple, was the responsibility of the state government.

The Kerala government must ensure law and order and full compliance of the Supreme Court order allowing women of the menstrual age group to visit Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa, a Home Ministry official said.

Chief Minister Vijayan Blames RSS, BJP Demands Probe

A day after devotees opposing entry of women into Sabarimala Temple clashed with the police at Nilackal, the Kerala government on Thursday charged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was trying to "destroy" the Ayyappa shrine by "unleashing terror".

The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, countered the allegation, saying the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front government was trying to tarnish the temple and was responsible for creating tension at the shrine.

Blocking devotees from proceeding to the temple and forcing them to return by creating terror was part of the RSS-Sangh Parivar's move to "destroy" Sabarimala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan charged in a Facebook post.

Reacting to developments at Sabarimala, BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai demanded a judicial probe into the circumstances that led to the violence and the lathi-charge by police against protesters.