Scuffles break out near Sabarimala temple over entry of menstrual age women
Updated : October 17, 2018 01:51 PM IST
Hundreds of police guarded the main gateway to Sabarimala hill temple on Wednesday to prevent clashes between women of menstrual age entering for the first time in centuries and conservative Hindu groups out to stop them.
The Sabarimala temple in Kerala has been the cause of tension since the Supreme Court ruled last month that banning some women from entering infringed on freedom to worship.
Hardline Hindu groups have threatened to commit mass suicide to prevent women from entering in a cultural battle between the Supreme Court.
The groups, that include Shiv Sena, a former ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, say the prohibition on women of menstrual age entering is required to appease the temple's chief deity, Ayyappan, depicted as a yoga-practising God considered eternally celibate by followers.
Police said on Wednesday around 500 police, including 100 women, have been deployed at Nilakkal, the gateway to the temple around 18 km (11 miles) from the site, where many of the protests have been taking place.
"Nobody will be allowed to prevent anybody. We will do everything possible to implement the law of the land," said Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham. "None will be allowed to take law into their hands."
But some female worshippers were prevented from proceeding to the temple site on Wednesday.