In a second attempt by a woman journalist to enter the Sabarimala sanctum, Andhra and Telangana based news anchor Kavitha Jakkala is on her way to the temple Sannithanam, surrounded by heavy police protection.
Kavitha, 24, a news anchor with Mojo TV is being taken to the sanctum under the police protection of Inspector General Sreejith. Visuals show the anchor, who said she is going to report from there, trekking up the hill wearing military fatigues and a helmet to protect herself from the crowd which also had Hindutva activists. She is being accompanied by three other crew members from Mojo, including reporter Balakrishna and cameraperson Narasimha.
According to reports, Kavitha had reached Pamba on Thursday night and insisted on trekking up to the Sannithanam. However, police officers said that they will not be able to accompany her in the night, but promised full protection in the morning.
"Late last evening, she had reached a spot just 3 km from the temple. It was unsafe to go further. I asked her if she wishes to not do the darshan, she said she wanted to and she was brave enough for it," Revathy Pogadadanda, CEO of Mojo TV Telugu told TNM.
There was a one-man protest against Kavitha and the police force. A devotee who was on his way down after offering his prayers hurled a stone at them. Nobody was hurt. The police were quick to shield and avert any injuries to the journalist.
Another woman, too, has joined Kavitha in her trek up to Sabarimala, report Malayalam channels.
On Wednesday, NYT journalist Suhasini Raj became the first woman between the ages 10 and 50 to reach farthest up Sabarimala Hill. She came within a few kilometres of the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple and was, however, forced to turn around after an angry mob pushed her back and hurled abuses at her.
Suhasini was climbing the hill to report on the story and had made it up to Marakkoottam, which is only a few kilometres away from the sanctum sanctorum or the Sannidhanam of Sabarimala. However, a large group of protesters from the Ayyappa Dharma Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Appachimedu near Marakkoottam began shouting at her.
The police reportedly did offer to accompany Suhasini to Sannidhanam but a friend or colleague accompanying her, clad in a light brown shirt, who does not appear to be Indian or of Indian origin, reportedly said that there was no point in climbing the hill in such circumstances, and the two decided not to undertake the risk and to descend the hill instead. Suhasini later told the media that she did not wish to hurt anyone's sentiments.