Just a day after a 11-member group from Tamil Nadu retuned after an unsuccessful visit to Sabarimala, 2 women from Kerala who attempted to climb up the hill shrine amid tight police security and protests were forcibly escorted downhill by the police. Citing a law and order threat at the temple, the officers who initially escorted the women uphill, later decided to bring them back to Pamba, despite the women not agreeing to go back.
The women - Bindu (42) from Koilandy and Kanakadurga (44) from Angadipuram in Malappuram district - were less than a kilometre away from the Sannidhanam, when massive protests broke out around them in the Chandranandan road - which connects Marakootam and Sannidhanam. A 50-member police battalion were guarding the two women at Chandranandan road when the police took the decision to abandon attempts to climb further uphill.
â€śWe donâ€™t want to go down. But since the police have said that there is a law and order situation, they should promise to bring us back to the temple another time when the situation is better,â€ť Bindu told media persons while climbing downhill.
The duo who began their climb up the hill at 3:30 am Monday had not informed the police about their visit initially. However, faced with Namajapa protests at Appachimedu later, they demanded that the government provide them protection as they were resolute in visiting the temple. It was following this that the police had decided to escort them up the hill shrine.
Special officer Jayadev IPS had joined the team of officers who were providing protection to the two women.
Unlike on Sunday, when the police allegedly declined to escort the group of women from Tamil Naduâ€™s Manithi organisation, who were finally forced to return without praying, Bindu and Kanakadurga were provided with heavy protection on Monday. Up until Chandranandan road when the protests grew bigger, the police were removing protestors who were blocking the road.
Around 9:30 am when they arrived at Chandranandan road - the narrow lane which connects Marakootam and Sannidhanam, the women were asked if they wanted to reconsider their decision to visit the temple as the protests were growing bigger. However the duo stated then that they were resolute in their decision to visit the temple.
â€śWe will wait for however long we have to. Let the protestors be there, they canâ€™t stop us from visiting the temple. This is our democracatic right and thatâ€™s why we have come to Sabarimala. Such protests denying basic rights should not happen in Kerala,â€ť Kanakdurga, one of the two women, told the media.
Alleging that the protests were politically motivated, the women also stated that they did not face protests as they began their climb up the hill, but the protests only began after a certain point, at Appachimedu.
Prior to escorting the women downhill, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the police were forced to provide protection to the women as they were responsible for the lives of these women.
â€śThey are saying they donâ€™t want police protection. But seeing that devotees protests the police are forced to give protection. There is a need for the police to talk to them about reconsidering their decision because we do not want any conflict near the temple that could affect innocent devotees. There are around 1 and half lakh people between Sannidhanam and Pamba and they are irate.
Meanwhile, protestors also gathered in front of Binduâ€™s house in Koyilandy for attempting the climb the hill shrine.