Crowds of angry ‘devotees’ and protesters gathered at Pathanamthitta and Nilakkal to ensure that no women between the ages of 10 and 50 entered Sabarimala temple, stopping and checking buses travelling onwards to Pamba and ultimately the Sabarimala temple itself.
Groups including women are stopping and checking buses and private vehicles in Pathanamthitta and particularly Nilakkal to see if there are any women between 10 and 50 inside. Women who are above the age of 50 are reportedly showing proof of their age to protesters before being “allowed” to travel on.
An Indian Oil petrol bunk at Nilakkal, where Thursday morning also saw “prayer chanting' protests by the Ayyappa Dharma Sena, headed by Rahul Easwar, seems to be a site where thousands of protestors have gathered and are stopping all buses and vehicles, including government KSRTC buses.
Two private vehicles used by media persons were attacked by the mob at Pathanamthitta. The cars were vandalised and the vehicles' windows and windshields were broken.
A KSRTC bus carrying two women, including India Today journalist Mausami Singh, was attacked by the mob at Nilakkal, who threw stones and broke the windows of the bus after a passenger in the bus itself informed ‘devotees’ gathered there that there were women in the bus.
A small red tractor approaching Nilakkal was also stopped by protesters after a rumour began that the tractor was hiding women under a tarpaulin sheet at the back. The tractor was checked and four male police personnel were found it. This lead to more protests with groups alleging that police were bringing more personnel in secret.
At 3.40 pm, stone pelting was reported from many places near Sabarimala. The crowds were pelting stones at police personnel. In the last few hours, two male reporters too were attacked.