Sabarimala temple reopening this evening (5 November) for Atta Chthira Tirunal for 24 hours and the surrounding areas are in a war-like situation. Around 3000 policemen have been deployed there to make sure that devotees do not avert any attempt of the women between the age of 10 and 50 to enter the temple. Yesterday onwards media men are banned from going to nearby places like Pampa, Nilakkal, etc. Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF ministry of CPM takes all tricks of their bags to make sure that the traditions are violated. A couple of weeks back, ladies known for their atheistic and anarchic thoughts and anti-Hindutwa stand were brought by the police, shamefully in police uniform, for entering the temple. And, devotees stopped them from entering the Sannnidhanam.
Yesterday, the police stopped the vehicles of the media houses. But, Janam TV crew managed to reach near Pampa. When they pointed out to the police that the Cr PC 144 issued by the district magistrate does not say anything about the ban on media, police threatened them of dire consequences. They asked, who are behind their arrival.
Then the authorities deployed women in Sannidhanam, the shrine area. It is first time in history. Fortunately, all of the 15 member strong women police band are about 50 hence it does not invite the wrath of believers.
But, two senior police officers, IG of Police P. Vijayan, in-charge of law and order in Shabarimala and Vinodkumar, in-charge of Vigilance have gone on leave. Another IG Ajithkumar is given the charge in Shabarimala. He met the main priest and thanthri. IG was reportedly told, if traditions are violated, the temple would be closed.
Yesterday DG of Police told the media that there was no ban of media. But, the policemen who stop the media people say, they got the instruction to stop them, from their immediate superiors. Police has instructed the media houses not to send any woman scribe to Shabarimala. Meanwhile, daughter-in-law of a CPM leader was stopped by the devotees from going to Sabarimala. She was stopped in Kottayam district before entering Pathanamthitta district , the seat of Shabarimala. She, along with three other women, was led by local DYFI leaders.
Yesterday onwards, police did not permit the vehicles to move from Erumeli and Nilakkal to Pampa. Thousands of devotees are suffering there sans food, water; and, no comfort stations around ! Police check the devotees like treating criminals. They even check the sacred irumutikkettu, the bundle the devotees carry on their heads as a tradition. It contains coconuts filled with ghee, some rice, etc. etc. Devotees do not get permission to go if they do not carry any ID proof. Reports suggest, even young policewomen check the vehicles. The Ayyappas observing vrutha are not supposed to be in the presence of young women. Police even reportedly informed the devotees that they could not carry the irumutikkettu when they go to the shrine.
Today by noontime police permits vehicles to move slowly to Pampa. But, by that time hundreds of them had opted to walk more than 20 km to Pampa. Kerala Road Transport Corporation buses were ready to ferry the devotees; but, the crew say, police do not permit.
In the meantime, in response to a writ petition, Kerala high court ruled that Government of Kerala should not interfere in the Dewaswom Board (DB) affairs. DB and Thanthri can decide the Shabarimala affairs. Law and order is the only concern of the government. This is a severe set back to GOK.
Incidentally, the media houses in Kerala, most of them manned by pseudo-secularists do not protest against the ban on them from entering Shabarimala. Otherwise, they always shout on top of their voice even if a scribe in northern Bharat was hit by a bicycle. Janam TV is the only exception. And, now Janam is number two in rating, overtaking the popular channels of Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi.
The police have asked the authorities to close the rooms and quarters in Sabarimala and hand over the keys. The devotees are not allowed to stay back in the Sannidhanam after the darshan. Devotees maintain that this is a trick to avoid the crowd of devotees who stop the young atheistic and anarchists from entering the shrine.
All leaders, including those of Congress and other opposition parties, denounce the government actions. BJP and Hindu leaders say that the actions of the government are similar to those of Emergency. BJP president Adv. P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said, that this is fascism. He warned that his party would stand by the devotees and see that their rights are protected.
The whole state is inquisitive to hear what is happening in Shabarimala. They are worried, the fascist actions of the government will lead to violence.