Indian airport protesters block woman activist's plan to enter hill temple

Indian airport protesters block woman activist's plan to enter hill temple

The group was blocked from leaving for Sabarimala from Nedumbassery Airport in Kochi, as a large number of devotees staged a "nama japam " protest clapping hands and chanting "Swamiye Ayyappa".

Surendran was taken into custody on Saturday night after he got into a scuffle with the police while attempting to go to the Sabarimala temple despite police cordon in the area.

Union Minister of IT K.J. Alphons will on Monday visit the temple town of Sabarimala to study the facilities meant for the pilgrims. Both the devotees who died on Saturday were below the age of 50 and this adds to the worries of pilgrims.

"Section 144 had been declared in the area", said Superintendent of Police (Special Officer) Pratheesh Kumar.

Surendran and two others with him had been taken into preventive custody Saturday night and brought to the Chittar police station, about 50 km from Sabarimala, after they forcibly tried to leave for the hill shrine at Sabarimala.

Nilakkal: Minister of State (MoS) for Tourism, KJ Alphons, who is now on his way to the Sabarimala Temple, on Monday, said that the situation at the hill-top shrine of Lord Ayyappa is worse than an emergency situation. The BJP leadership in the state also supported the bandh.

Meanwhile, the founder of Bhumata Brigade and social activists Trupti Desai who vowed to offer prayers at Sabarimala temple has dropped her plan to visit the shrine after she was asked to return to Pune.

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The KSRTC bus in which Sasikala was travelling with family members was stopped and the notice served by police personnel. Previously, she had led campaigns to ensure that women are permitted to enter various religious places like Shani Shingnapur temple, the Haji Ali Dargah, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple.

"Our aim is not to trouble anyone".

"Protestors threatened taxi drivers from providing us services.Hotel staff was threatened of damage to hotels if rooms were given to us".

Speaking to the media at Nilackal, Alphons on Monday said: "I fail to understand why the Kerala Police has clamped prohibitory orders. All these reasons have resulted in less crowd at the Sannidhanam", a top Devaswom official said.

Police are maintaining strict vigil in and around the temple complex and are using drones to monitor the movement of pilgrims at Nilackal, the base camp. The unprecedented police force deployed along the route to the temple and the bandobust at the Sannidhanam has upset many devotees who are experiencing this kind of police guards for the first time in their life.

Since prohibitory orders had been imposed, police informed them that they should leave and can not stay back.

Sources said that the police had received information about a possible protest by the devotees at Sannidhanam and the police had taken precautionary measures.

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