As the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala opens on Tuesday evening for the Kumbh masa pooja, the devotees and the officials will be hoping not to witness a replay of the events that took place on October 17, when the gates of the temple opened for the first time after the Supreme Court verdict, allowing the entry of women of all ages to enter the Ayyappa shrine.
According to a report by the Times of India (ToI), the Pathanamthitta district police superintendent, T Narayanan has requested the Pathanamthitta district collector to implement section 144 in the areas of Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidhanam from Tuesday evening till the time the temple closes on the night of February 17.
“Considering the untoward incidents caused by various organisations in areas around Sabarimala when the shrine was opened for the Thulamasa puja and the protests over the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all ages into the shrine, certain restrictions have been imposed in areas to ensure smooth darshan for devotees,” said an official release, according to Deccan Chronicle.
As witnessed during the last few months, the police is reported to have set up an elaborate security blanket in these areas. On Tuesday, the devotees and the media will be allowed to travel from the base camp at Nilakkal to Pamba, only after 10 am.
As per the report by Deccan Chronicle, the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Ayyappa temple which will be opened by the Chief priest Vasudevan Nampoothiri will witness several special rituals including, ‘kalabhahishekam’, ‘sahasrakalasham’, and ‘laksharchana’, over the course of the five days. Tantri (head priest) Kandararu Rajeevaru will also be present during these poojas, reports said.
With the Supreme Court reserving its verdict on the review petitions regarding the entry of women of all ages into the temple, the police is reported to be anticipating a tense situation since there are reports doing the rounds that certain outfits will be looking to create unrest for political gains.
On September 28, the Supreme Court had allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple. This verdict had irked the sentiments of various Ayyappa devotees following which thousands took to the streets to show their resentment against the SC verdict.
When the gates of the temple were opened on October 17 for the first time after the verdict, various Hindu outfits and protestors clashed with the police, attacked women journalists and vandalised vehicles in the areas of Nilackal and Pamba.