Kerala DGP announces strict action against law breakers and said that police will provide security to anyone who wishes to enter.

Tension in Sabarimala police dismantle protest tent in Nilakkal early morningSneha Koshy
news Sabarimala Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 09:26

With only a few hours remaining before the famous Sabrimala Temple in Kerala will open its gates for the first time since the historic verdict by the Supreme Court allowing the entry of women of all ages into the temple, tensions seem to be mounting in the district of Pathanamthitta, especially in the areas of Nilakkal and Pamba.

Hundreds of devotees protesting against the verdict had set up a protest tent in Nilakkal. They had stopped vehicles and did not allow those with ‘young’ women to pass by. In some cases, women were made to disembark forcefully.

However, the state police force decided to clampdown on devotee protest  movement and removed the protest tent of the Sabarimala Samrakshana Samiti in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Police dispersed scores of devotees who were actively camping at Nilakkal and blocking women from going further.

For the past 8 days, devotees have been camping at Nilakkal to ensure that no women are allowed to go past the base camp.

Nilakkal, which is 20 kilometers from Sabarimala, is the only route to reach Pamba, a reason why protest groups camped here to ensure that women did not enter. The police removed the tent set up by the devotee group under the name of Sabarimala Samrakshana Samiti. Another protest tent set up by the Congress at Nilakkal has been left as it is.

At around 3:30 am on Wednesday, there was a clash between the police and devotees groups - who were blocking all vehicles coming through that route.

Earlier on Tuesday, the police arrested 3 protestors who were blocking and checking vehicles going to Pamba. After loud sloganeering against the police, a few of the protestors were removed from the venue.

Following this, the tent was removed following an order from ADGP Ananthakrishnan. Two battalions of women police force too has been stationed in Nilakkal and Pamba. No private vehicles are being allowed till Pamba. However KSRTC buses are being allowed.

The temple gates will open for the Thalumasa Pooja this evening and police forces stationed at the site will allow pilgrims to visit the Sannithanam from Pamba in the afternoon.

Security measures for women devotees discussed at a high level meeting led by the ADGP has been conveyed to the police on ground. Further, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran too will visit the temple Sannithanam today to oversee measures taken ahead of the temple opening.

Meanwhile, DGP Loknath Behra, the state Director General of Police has said that strict action will be taken against protestors who are stopping vehicles to conduct searches. He has said that an information regarding this has been passed on to all the range Inspector General’s (IG) and District Police Chief’s. It has also been ordered that a case be registered against those creating problems on the route.

Behra also said that patrolling units of the police and striker squads have been deployed. Along with this, different teams of police officials, including women personals have been deployed along the Nilakkal-Pamba route and along the Erumely-Nilakkal route to prevent people from stopping vehicles to conduct searches.

“Measures will be taken to stop all law breaking activities. We will not allow anyone to take law into their own hands,” DGP Loknath Behra confirmed to the media.

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