It was once again the Pinarayi Government failing to implement the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala with police being forced to send back 11 young women pilgrims who attempted to trek to shrine.
A force of over 100 policemen could do nothing in front of the a crowd of at least 1,000 protestors under the Sabarimala Karma Samiti who literally broke the police ring and attackingly got close to the pilgrims. Police succeeded in taking them safely to the police outpost, putting an end to nearly six hours of tension.
It was women fleeing the wrath of protestors. The pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, who came under the banner of Manithi, were whisked away and taken by bus from Pamba to Nilackal and from there would be escorted to Tamil Nadu border at Kumily.
The pilgrims came as a group early on Sunday at Pamba enroute the shrine. Protests grew as people gathered opposing entry of young women to the temple gathered at Pamba and began chanting hymns.
The women pilgrims squatted on the road and requested the police to allow them have darshan and give them protection. The police force was weak. After police arrested a section of protestors, they tried to escort them to the shrine. However, a strong force of protestors reached Neelimala on the trek path, making movement of the pilgrims further. Fearing risk to the life of the pilgrims, police whisked them away to the police outpost and from there back to Pamba, bringing an end to their attempt to have a darshan.
Earlier, the women who came via Kumily got a taste of the protest when some of them decided to fill their 'irumudikettu’ (pouch of puja offerings and ghee-filled The Government, which was informed about the visit much in advance, washed its hands of the issue, saying the High Court-appointed monitoring committee was authorised to take a decision in the matter. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the matter would be decided by the monitoring committee.
Devaswom president A Padmakumar gave hints that customs and mattered and law and order would have to be maintained and it was for the monitoring committee to take the 'rightful’ decision. Necessary action would be contemplated if there was violation of customsand rituals, he added.
The fewer number of policemen and the growing number of protestors has added to the tension. The Pandalam Royal family members have asked the chief priest to shut the temple if there is any violation of customs.
The pilgrims, who reached Pamba around 6 am after their vehicle was allowed to make it to Pamba from Nilackal, unlike having to travel by KSRTC bus, were firm on trekking to Sabarimala. Police attempts to dissuade the women, who included Manithi coordinator Selvi, appeared to have failed initially. Pilgrims had then asserted that they would not leave without having darshan.
The BJP-RSS combine succeeded in thwarting any bid to implement the Supreme Court verdict and had ensured having a strong force of devotees for this in and around Sabarimala.