A nine-member group, including Shanila, Reshma and seven male companions brought along to help ensure their safety, turned back due to heavy protests early on Wednesday morning.

Sabarimala entry Reshma Nishant Shanila Satheesh begin hunger strike
news Sabarimala Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 15:01

The two women who unsuccessfully attempted to enter Sabarimala temple on Wednesday morning, Shanila Satheesh and Reshma Nishanth, have begun a hunger strike after they were blocked from entering the temple by protesters gathered there. They are demanding that adequate arrangements be made for them to complete their Sabarimala darshan safely, and are reportedly on a hunger strike at an unknown location to ensure their safety and avoid attacks from angry protesters.

A nine-member group, including Shanila, Reshma and seven male companions brought along to help ensure their safety, had arrived at Pamba early on Wednesday morning. They were stopped by a rapidly swelling group protesters at Nilakkal around 4.30 am. After nearly three to four hours of protests, the pair were accompanied to Pamba police control room, where it was decided that they would abandon their trek. Reshma told reporters that the police forced them to abandon their trek and descend the hill, and that they did not abandon the trek of their own volition.

Speaking to reporters at Nilakkal, Reshma also made it clear that they would not break the fast they had undertaken in order to visit Sabarimala until they had successfully completed their darshan there. "We waited till Makaravilakku to let all protests settle down. It has been four months since I wore the mala. I need to go home, but I can do so, only after removing the mala. But we will not go without seeing our lord. If the protesters want to kill us, they may do so.”
 
Reshma Nishanth and Shanila Satheesh are from Kannur. They were among the three women who organised the press conference in Kochi in November 2018, to talk about their wish to visit the Sabarimala Temple. They had also announced that they were willing to wait till the police and the devotees ensured their safe passage to the shrine, to offer prayers. The three women, along with another woman, had even filed a writ petition seeking police security to enter the temple and that the government should reserve three days for women's entry. They had informed the High Court that they had to abandon their plan due to threats from BJP, Hindu Aikya Vedi, Sabarimala Karma Samiti and other organisations.

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