Sabarimala Wrangle: 4 more women attempt to trek amid protests

Sabarimala Wrangle: 4 more women attempt to trek amid protests
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Four women were forced to stop their trek to the hill shrine of Sabarimala in Kerala on Sunday as protests continued for the fifth day Two women were blocked at Neelimala, the entry point to the Sabarimala trekking path They had reportedly gone with some male relatives and without police protection

Sabarimala: Four women were forced to stop their trek to the hill shrine of Sabarimala in Kerala on Sunday as protests continued for the fifth day. Two women were blocked at Neelimala, the entry point to the Sabarimala trekking path. They had reportedly gone with some male relatives and without police protection.

The police took them back to Pamba, an important landmark on the route to Sabarimala. Another woman was stopped at Nadapanthal after devotees began protesting. She was also taken back to Pamba after she complained of uneasiness. The fourth woman was stopped at Pamba itself.

The four women were identified as Balamma, Pushparaj, Vasanthi and Adishesha. They are all from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Women of menstruating age have traditionally not been allowed into the temple, but a Supreme Court order last month put an end to the restriction.

There have been protests outside the shrine since Wednesday, when the temple gates opened to devotees for monthly rituals for the first time since the court’s order. Protestors have blocked women devotees, activists and journalists who have tried to enter the temple since Wednesday.

A 52-year-old woman was able to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on Saturday only after she showed protestors proof of her age. The situation outside the shrine was tense after rumours among protestors that the woman was less than 50 years old.

The police, meanwhile, turned away a Dalit woman in her 30s who had come to Pamba to visit the shrine. The police told Manju, a leader of the Kerala Dalit Federation that she could not proceed to the temple due to security reasons. She has vowed to return on Sunday or Monday.

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