The Pathanamthitta district administration, led by the Collector, has issued an order extending Section 144 (prohibitory orders) at Sabarimala for 4 more days - until midnight of December 4. Earlier, the prohibitory orders were to end at midnight on Friday.
The prohibitory orders will now continue at four places, namely Sabarimala, the base camp of Nilakkal, Pamba and Elavunkal. The order says that the ban has been enforced to make sure that pilgrims travelling to Sabarimala are safe as tensions prevail at the hill shrine.
The order was extended following the reports of the police and the executive magistrate.
In a move which has been criticised by Opposition leaders and right wing groups, Section 144 was imposed from November 3 to November 23.
On November 20, the Kerala High Court, hearing four different petitions challenging the prohibitory orders at the temple, had asked for it to be removed and for reasons to be furnished by the government to the court, explaining the need for the imposition of the same in the area.
Following this, Pathanamthitta SP T Narayanan had written to the District Collector requesting that the prohibitory orders remain in place until January 14, the last day of the Mandala season. This was done citing security concerns during the ongoing Mandala season.
Section 144 was lifted at 12 am on Thursday but was put back in place for an additional four days after this.
However, the order which extended Section 144 specifically stated that there wonâ€™t be any restrictions for pilgrims visiting the hill shrine and that this was being done just to ensure their safety.