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High drama as frenzied protesters try to block woman; TV cameraman injured

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

SABARIMALA ISSUE

Clapping and chanting 'Ayyappa saranam', a huge crowd of devotees surrounded a woman suspecting her to be of menstrual age, but police intervened and the woman showed her Aadhaar card to prove she did not belong to the barred' age group

Sabarimala (Ker) : In a tense showdown at Sabarimala in Kerala, about 200 frenzied devotees Tuesday tried to prevent a woman pilgrim from entering the hilltop shrine suspecting her to be of menstrual age and allegedly attacked a cameraman of a Malayalam television news channel.

Ignoring prohibitory orders, devotees and right wing activists gathered in huge numbers at Sannidhanam, the shrine complex, following which a senior state RSS leader addressed them using a microphone to bring the situation under control.

Though a rush of pilgrims is hardly witnessed during the annual "Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal", the hill temple saw an unprecedented flow of devotees this time when it was opened for the two-day special puja Monday evening.

Clapping and chanting 'Ayyappa saranam', a huge crowd of devotees surrounded Lalitha Ravi (52), suspecting her to be of menstrual age, but police intervened and escorted her out.

The woman showed her Aadhaar card to them to prove she did not belong to the "traditionally barred" age group of 10-50 years though the Supreme Court has allowed entry of girls and women of all age groups.

Police later escorted her to the shrine to offer prayers along with her other women relatives.

Hailing from Thrissur, Lalitha came to the hill temple, which opened this morning, with 19 relatives including women, for her grandson's 'chorunnu' (rice giving ceremony).

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