Fatima had gone up to the Lord Ayyappa shrine, along with journalist Kavitha Jakkal, this morning under police protection. Both retreated midway after a meeting with Kerala Inspector General of Police (IGP) S. Sreejith.
Fatima had gone up to the Lord Ayyappa shrine, along with journalist Kavitha Jakkal, this morning under police protection.
Both retreated midway after a meeting with Kerala Inspector General of Police (IGP) S. Sreejith.
Fatima, who had to return without going to the shrine, claimed that people who want to disrupt peace, not devotees, had stopped them from visiting the shrine. She told reporters here after her return, "People, not the devotees, who want to disrupt peace didn`t allow us to enter. I want to know what was the reason (to stop us)? Tell me, in which way one needs to be a devotee? You tell me that first and then I will tell you if I am a devotee or not".
"I don`t know what happened to my children. My life is also in danger. But they (police) have said that they will provide protection. That is why I am going back," she added.
Jakkal, who was stopped 500 metres from the holy 18 steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the famous shrine, on her return said, "Thank you so much for supporting us. We are feeling proud to come here. You have seen what kind of dangerous situation we have faced."
Both Fatima and Jakkal were escorted back to Pamba by the police.The two women who were en route to the Sabarimala Temple agreed to return after the temple head priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevaru threatened to shut down the temple if they attempted to force their way in.
Meanwhile, Mary Sweety, a 46-year-old woman, returned midway after she was stopped by the protesters at Pamba. She has currently been taken to a police control room.
Two days after the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala opened its doors for the first time for females of all age group, as per the Supreme Court verdict pronounced on September 28, no woman of menstrual age has yet been able to visit the shrine because of continuous protests.
Earlier in the day, a number of devotees had gathered to block the entry of women trekking up to the hill shrine.
Places around the temple such as Pamba, Nilakkal, Sannidhanam and Elavungal have witnessed the majority of the violent protests since the doors of the shrine reopened on Wednesday.
Protesters had allegedly vandalised a bus carrying journalists and other passengers at Laka near the Nilakkal base camp.
The police were forced to lathi-charge the protesters as they resorted to stone pelting.
Elderly women were seen entering the temple on Wednesday evening, but women between 10 to 50 years of age refrained from visiting the shrine for the sake of their own safety.
Owing to the protests and violence, Section 144 (prohibiting assembly of more than four people) has been imposed in Pamba, Nilakkal and Elavungal.
The temple opened on Wednesday at 5 pm, and it will close on October 22.