Four days after the doors of Sabarimala temple were thrown open to women of menstruating age following a Supreme Court verdict, a Dalit activist began the last five km journey from Pamba to enter the temple on Saturday.
However, heavy rains played spoilsport as SP Manju, said to be in her late 30s, had to abort her plans of entering the temple, police sources said.
SP Manju, general secretary of the Kerala Dalit Mahila Federation, asked for police protection citing protestors who are waiting to stop women of menstruating age to enter the shrine of Lord Ayyappa.
According to media reports, Kerala police said that Manju has 14 cases against her and a decision on giving her security for tomorrow will only be cleared after a thorough background check.
If Manju manages to reach the shrine, she would be the first woman from the menstruating age group to visit the temple.
Earlier in the day, devotees gathered in large numbers at ‘Valiya Nadapandhal’ the queue complex located a few metres away from the holy ‘pathinettampadi’ (the 18 sacred steps), leading to the sanctum sanctorum to protest a woman’s entry into the temple. However, the tension was defused after the woman, who had come with members of her family, convinced the protesters that she was above 50 years, and proceeded to the shrine.
Some BJP workers were arrested at Nilakkal for violating section 144 of CrPC (prohibiting an assembly of more than four persons in an area) that has been clamped in the area in view of the protests by devotees.