Sabarimala: Protesters block women from entering Hindu shrine

Sabarimala to open today Kerala braces for law vs faith standoff

Mob attempts to block first entry of women of menstruating age to sacred Hindu temple

One 45-year old woman identified as Madhavi who wanted to enter the temple abandoned her attempt after activists prevented her climbing the hill, the Press Trust of India reported. High tension is prevailing at the temple.

Sabarimala Samrakshana Samity, an umbrella organisation of several outfits protesting against the court order, called a day-long shutdown across the state on Thursday to protest against Wednesday's police action.

A family of four from Andhra Pradesh state, including at least one woman, were shielded by police after protesters shouting slogans prevented them from reaching the temple.

Hundreds of policemen could be seen in Pamba, Nilakkal and Erumeli - the important landmarks on way to Sabarimala.

A journalist at news website Newsgil, Libi CS, was stopped from proceeding to the temple at Pathanamthitta bus terminal.

Shortly after, India Today reporter Mausami Singh was pulled out of a KSRTC bus in which she was travelling and attacked. The reporter was kicked by angry protesters who hurled abuses at her, NDTV reported.

In a similar manner, News 18 reporter Neethu Reghukumar was heckled by angry protesters on Tuesday night and the media organisation's vehicle was attacked after she questioned the Kerala government over its promise on the safety of women devotees.

A vehicle in which CNN News 18 crew, including reporter Radhika Ramaswamy were travelling in, also came under attack.

Speaking to Republic, Rahul's wife Deepa Vijayan said he was arrested after he tried to stop three women police personnel, who were deployed in Pamba, from entering Sabarimala, on the grounds that the Kerala Chief Minister promised that there will be no women police personnel beyond the Pamba entry point.

The media crew of Republic TV, which was travelling in a private vehicle, was also attacked. We saw another reporter's auto had been smashed. The Pandalam royal family and other stakeholders walked out of the meeting over the TDB's reluctance to discuss the issue of filing a review petition against the apex court order.

BJP state general secretaries, K Surendran, M T Ramesh and Shobha Surendran were among those who led the prayer meet. The Sangh Parivar organisations, along with Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, are also protesting on the two sites. The state government headed by the Left parties is accused of turning a blind eye keeping electoral politics in mind.

But while thousands of bare-chested men entered the temple with offerings of tumeric and incense when it opened at 5 p.m. (1130 GMT) for the first time since the court decision, there were no signs of any women going in.

" "We know very well the agenda of RSS and BJP", he said adding the LDF government had no intention to have any confrontation with the believers".

Just before his arrest, Easwar, the president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena, said the protests would be "non-violent, non-communal and non-political".

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