On Thursday night, the Pathanamthitta collector PB Noah extended the prohibitory orders, or the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC, in Sabarimala, Nilakkal and Pamba areas till midnight of 26 November. Under these orders, the assembly of four or more persons remains banned.
Previously, Section 144 was imposed in the area on November 3, lasting until November 23. Pathanamthitta SP T Narayanan had written to the District Collector requesting that Section 144 remain in place until January 14, citing security concerns during the ongoing Mandalam-Makaravilaku season. Pamba police station confirmed to TNM that Section 144 was imposed again on Thursday evening and will be in place until midnight on Monday.
Over the last few weeks, various right-wing groups devotees associations, have been calling for the revocation of sec 144 in the area. On Wednesday, an impromptu protest by Congress workers and ministers which broke out at Nilakkal in Sabarimala saw slogans like â€śrepeal Section 144â€ť being shouted.
The Leader of Opposition in Kerala, Congressâ€™ Ramesh Chennithala, also wrote a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, requesting him to revoke Section 144 as it will â€śdestroy Sabarimala and alienate the devoteesâ€ť. He also wrote the Kerala Governor, also asking for Section 144 to be repealed, pointing out that it was the first time in history that curfew had been invoked in Sabarimala. He said that due to Section 144 being imposed, devotees could not stay at Sabarimala past 11 PM, and that police were treating devotees like terrorists, thus hampering their ability to do neyabhishekam (a pooja using ghee).
On Tuesday, the Kerala HC had asked for the prohibitory orders in Sabarimala to removed, and for reasons to be furnished by the government to the Court explaining the reasons for the imposition of the same in the area. The prohibitory orders were lifted at 12 pm on Thursday, but, as reported by PTI, put back into place for an additional four days on Thursday night.