Devotees stage demos in Hyderabad over Sabarimala issue

Hyderabad: Groups of devotees of Lord Ayyappa held demonstrations Thursday in different parts of the city in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Holding placards that read “Save Sabarimala,” the protesting devotees took out a rally in Saidabad area here and squatted on the road. They raised slogans against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and later also burnt his effigy. Devotees accused the Kerala government of acting against the age-old traditions of Sabarimala and also against Hindus.

Meeting under the banner of the ‘Sabarimala Samrakshana Vedike‘ (Save Sabarimala Forum), the protesters demanded Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s resignation over the incident.

Bindu and Kanakadurga, both in their 40s, became the first women to enter the temple after the Supreme Court verdict early on Wednesday, resulting in violent protests across Kerala.

The protesters pointed out that Vijayan was not only a party leader, but also the Chief Minister of a state and hence he should respect the religious sentiments of crores of Ayyappa devotees, because India is a democratic country.

Pinarayi Vijayan cannot bulldoze his way. There should be respect for crores of devotees who are visiting Sabarimala tooffer prayers,” they added. Protests were also staged in Udupi, Mysuru, Chikmagaluru, Mangaluru, Tumkuru and other places.

The protesters argued that even sanyasis who have renounced the world are not allowed in some temples in Kerala. “These sanyasis are allowed inside the shrine only after conducting purification rituals,” they added.

Also, men are not allowed in some temples in India and hence rituals and religious practises should be respected by the authorities, they said.

The two women created history Wednesday by stepping into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the Supreme Court’s judgment lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its “eternally celibate” deity.