The women were speaking about the threats they had to face following their decision to visit the Sabarimala Temple.

Ernakulam tense after three women express wish to visit Sabarimala at Press Club
news Sabarimala Monday, November 19, 2018 - 17:47

A tense atmosphere prevailed outside the Ernakulam Press Club on Monday afternoon when three women, who spoke to the media about their wish to visit the Sabarimala Temple, were blocked by protestors chanting Ayyappa hymns.

Police had to intervene and take them to safety but traffic along the Press Road was affected for some time. All three women in the age group of 10 to 50 spoke about wearing the ‘mala’ that devotees wear when they begin the 41-day fast before visiting the temple. Reshma Nishanth, a teacher among them, had created news when she announced her decision to visit the temple on a Facebook post and has since been much threatened.

Reshma wore the mala following the Supreme Court’s verdict in September which allowed women of all ages to enter the temple. Looking emotional, she said, “I wore the mala believing that women’s entry will be made in the best way possible. But since I announced to the world about my decision, my freedom to travel has been completely lost. I couldn’t get out of my home for anything. If I step out of the house, news would immediately spread that Reshma Nishanth is going to Sabarimala.”

The others with her are Shanila Satheesh from Kannur and VS Dhanya from Kollam. There were more women with them who registered on the police portal for protection, but who did not come for the press meet so they wouldn’t have to go through what Reshma did. Shanila too said that everywhere it has been enemies for her since she wore the mala. “We are true believers, not going for a show. So the police and the government should protect us,” Shanila said.

Reshma reiterated that they hope the police, the government and the society comprising devotees would understand and respect their faith and stand with them. “I did not become a believer a day or two ago. Those who know me would know that.”

But they would not go now when it was a riot-like environment in Sabarimala. “We are not interested in letting political parties take advantage of our faith, in the name of Lord Ayyappa and create riots in Kerala. Only when we are sure of our safety will we try to go,” said Dhanya.

Despite all the mental stress and suffering they go through, the women say they continue their fast and pursue their wish to visit the temple so that the coming generation of women believers would be able to go to Sabarimala.

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