Pathanamthitta District Collector PB Nooh on Friday said prohibitory orders for Sannidhanam, Nilakkal, Elavunkal and Pamba areas near Kerala’s Sabarimala temple will be effective from Saturday midnight to November 6, The News Minute reported. The announcement comes ahead of the reopening of the temple on November 5.
The prohibitory orders, under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedural Code, impose a temporary ban on large gatherings. Officials said a significantly larger number of police personnel will be deployed to the site to prevent violent protests like the ones that broke out in October.
The Kerala Police said they have arrested over 3,557 people and registered 531 cases in connection with the violence that erupted after after the Supreme Court judgment on September 28 permitting the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, reported Mathrubhumi. Police recorded 52 arrests on Monday alone.
On October 17, the temple opened to the public for the first time since the court’s order. Protestors gathered near the shrine prevented women aged between 10 and 50 from entering its premises. The shrine closed on October 22 after the monthly rituals were completed, but not a single woman of menstruating age was able to enter it.
Several religious outfits have been protesting against the court’s order. State units of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have also opposed the Supreme Court order. The state government had said it would implement the order, but was unable to do so.
On Friday, the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of challenging the Constitution on the matter, PTI reported. “The BJP is trying to utilise Sabarimala for their political interests,” CPI(M) state secretariat member P Rajeev said.
Meanwhile, popular Malayalam writer and Jnanpith Award winner MT Vasudevan Nair criticised the protests against women’s entry to Sabarimala. “These protests will take Kerala back to 100 years,” he told Deshabhimani, the mouthpiece of the CPI(M),
in an interview. “It is dangerous and shameful.”