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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.

Image Source: PTI/Reuters/Associated Press (AP)

Hindu women favoring barring women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple scan vehicles at Nilakkal, a base camp on way to the mountain shrine in Kerala, India, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. The historic mountain shrine reopens Wednesday the first time after the Supreme Court lifted the ban, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. Devotees have been protesting against the verdict demanding that the customs and rituals of the temple should be protected. (AP Photo)
Hindu women favoring barring women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple scan vehicles at Nilakkal, a base camp on way to the mountain shrine in Kerala, India, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. The historic mountain shrine reopens Wednesday the first time after the Supreme Court lifted the ban, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. Devotees have been protesting against the verdict demanding that the customs and rituals of the temple should be protected. (AP Photo)
Hindu women hold decorative umbrellas used for temple processions and chant religious hymns worshiping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as they arrive for a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India. Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. The historic Sabarimala temple had barred women of menstruating age from entering the temple. India's Supreme Court on September 28th lifted the ban, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. Hundreds of protesters gathered near the Indian Parliament Sunday demanding that the customs and rituals of the temple should not be changed. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Hindu women hold decorative umbrellas used for temple processions and chant religious hymns worshiping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as they arrive for a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India. Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. The historic Sabarimala temple had barred women of menstruating age from entering the temple. India's Supreme Court on September 28th lifted the ban, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. Hundreds of protesters gathered near the Indian Parliament Sunday demanding that the customs and rituals of the temple should not be changed. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Hindu women chant religious hymns worshiping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as they arrive for a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Hindu women chant religious hymns worshiping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as they arrive for a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
A woman gestures worshipfully as others chant religious hymns worshipping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, during a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
A woman gestures worshipfully as others chant religious hymns worshipping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, during a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Hindu women hold placards and chant religious hymns worshipping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as they arrive for a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Hindu women hold placards and chant religious hymns worshipping Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as they arrive for a protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct.7, 2018. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)
Devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, participate in a rally to protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, participate in a rally to protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, participate in a rally to protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, participate in a rally to protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
A devotees holds a picture of Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as she participates in a rally to protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
A devotees holds a picture of Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala temple, as she participates in a rally to protest against a recent Supreme Court verdict in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Lord Ayyappa devotees take part in the 'Ayyappa Namajapa Yatra' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) in New Delhi, Sunday, October 14, 2018 against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Lord Ayyappa devotees take part in the 'Ayyappa Namajapa Yatra' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) in New Delhi, Sunday, October 14, 2018 against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Lord Ayyappa devotees during a protest called by various Hindu organisations against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, in Ahmedabad on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (PTI Photo/Santosh Hirlekar)
Lord Ayyappa devotees during a protest called by various Hindu organisations against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, in Ahmedabad on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (PTI Photo/Santosh Hirlekar)
Lord Ayyappa devotees during a protest called by various Hindu organisations against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, in Ahmedabad on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (PTI Photo/Santosh Hirlekar)
Lord Ayyappa devotees during a protest called by various Hindu organisations against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, in Ahmedabad on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (PTI Photo/Santosh Hirlekar)
Congress-led UDF members stage a protest against Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict, at Erumely in Kottayam, Tuesday, Oct 16, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Congress-led UDF members stage a protest against Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict, at Erumely in Kottayam, Tuesday, Oct 16, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Women protesters check Sabarimala bound vehicles at Nilakkal to ensure that no women in the age group between 10 and 50 are going to Lord Ayyappa temple in dense forests at Sabarimala, on Tuesday, October 16,2018. (PTI Photo)
Women protesters check Sabarimala bound vehicles at Nilakkal to ensure that no women in the age group between 10 and 50 are going to Lord Ayyappa temple in dense forests at Sabarimala, on Tuesday, October 16,2018. (PTI Photo)
Police personnel use water cannon to disperse ‘Yuvamorcha’ activists marching to the house of Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran's residence demanding that the state government file a review petition against the Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict, in Thiruvananthapuram, Thursday, Oct 11, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Police personnel use water cannon to disperse ‘Yuvamorcha’ activists marching to the house of Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran's residence demanding that the state government file a review petition against the Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict, in Thiruvananthapuram, Thursday, Oct 11, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Devotees participate in an agitation against the Supreme Court's verdict on Sabarimala Temple, in Chennai, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Devotees participate in an agitation against the Supreme Court's verdict on Sabarimala Temple, in Chennai, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Devotees participate in an agitation against the Supreme Court's verdict on Sabarimala Temple, in Chennai, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Devotees participate in an agitation against the Supreme Court's verdict on Sabarimala Temple, in Chennai, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Devotees, mostly women, take part in the 'namajapa' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) march against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, in Ernakulam, Saturday, October 13, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Devotees, mostly women, take part in the 'namajapa' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) march against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, in Ernakulam, Saturday, October 13, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Lord Ayyappa devotees take part in the 'Ayyappa Namajapa Yatra' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) in New Delhi, Sunday, October 14, 2018 against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Lord Ayyappa devotees take part in the 'Ayyappa Namajapa Yatra' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) in New Delhi, Sunday, October 14, 2018 against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Lord Ayyappa devotees take part in the 'Ayyappa Namajapa Yatra' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) in New Delhi, Sunday, October 14, 2018 against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Lord Ayyappa devotees take part in the 'Ayyappa Namajapa Yatra' (chanting the name of Lord Ayyappa) in New Delhi, Sunday, October 14, 2018 against the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
Hindu devotees take part in a motorcycle rally as part of a protest against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, at Nilakkal Base camp in Pathanamthitta district in the southern state of Kerala, India, October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V
Hindu devotees take part in a motorcycle rally as part of a protest against the lifting of ban by Supreme Court that allowed entry of women of menstruating age to the Sabarimala temple, at Nilakkal Base camp in Pathanamthitta district in the southern state of Kerala, India, October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V
Published : October 17, 2018 01:51 PM IST
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