A young woman named Libi CS faced angry opposition at the Pathanamthitta new bus stand on Thursday morning, when she arrived there from Cherthala in order to travel to Sabarimala temple in Pamba. Libi, a journalist and editor of a news website called Newsgil, was attempting to make the journey to Sabarimala on the first day of the temple re-opening after the controversial Supreme Court verdict allowing women between the ages of 10 and 50 to enter the temple.
Since she had announced her intention to travel to Sabarimala in a Facebook post published on Wednesday, it is likely that detractors were awaiting her arrival and she would be easily recognised.
Wearing black, with a small smear of ash on her forehead and carrying the other religious accoutrements particular to Sabarimala devotees, Libi CS, who was unaccompanied, was soon gheraoed by an angry crowd of locals, comprising of both shouting men and young women at the Pathanamthitta bus stand. Police immediately descended upon the site and formed a protective ring around Libi to keep the protestors at bay.
The confrontation appeared to be on the brink of violence, as several of the angry protesters pushed against the protective ring and attempted to take swipes at her or push her. But the police effectively kept them away from Libi, and the protective ring of officers escorted her to a police van, which drove away from the bus stand, presumably to Pamba.
A number of policemen remain at Pathanamthitta bus stand to control the crowd that continues to be gather there, and presumably to stem any further incidents.
In a Facebook post published on Wednesday, Libi had said, “Friends, four of us are leaving to Sabarimala today, which includes atheists like me and two devotees. I am not going to Sabarimala because I have any wish to do so.” She then mentions the reasons why she decided to make the journey to Sabarimala. She says that she decided to go after witnessing the communal polarisation, the protests and the casteist abuses directed at the Chief Minister after the controversial. She then says that the protests are simply meant to protect the interests of two families (the erstwhile Pandalam royal family and the Sabarimala Thanthri family).
Many groups in Kerala have asked the police to file a case against Libi for a story published on her website, which said that if Ayyappa’s lust was awakened because of women devotees entering the temple, they would prescribe medicine.
She said that as she lives in a democratic country, the government should take action against anyone who tries to stop her from making the journey to Sabarimala. After she was stopped by protesters, Libi said that she was not afraid of the protests and will exercise her rights as promised by the constitution.