The Kerala Police on Saturday arrested 82 people for chanting prayers at Sannidhanam in the Sabarimala hill shrine, Manorama Online reported. Two groups of devotees started chanting Ayyappa’s name at an area that was blocked by the police, after which they were taken into custody.

The arrested were taken to Pamba and later granted bail.

The police had imposed strict restrictions on devotees at the Sannidhanam after previous incidents of violence at the temple. The Pathanamthitta district collector on Thursday had extended orders prohibiting the assembly of four or more people for four more days in and around Sabarimala. However, this does not apply to devotees chanting individually or in groups.

An unidentified police official said the devotees started chanting prayers near the “vavarundana” area of the temple even though prohibitory orders were in place.

Several organisations have appealed in court against the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code at Sabarimala. On November 21, the Kerala High Court said that pilgrims cannot be prevented from moving in groups and chanting devotional songs to Lord Ayyappa.

The temple opened on November 16 for the third time after the Supreme Court in September had allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine. But so far, no woman between the ages of 10 and 50 has been given entry into the temple due to massive protests. According to the police’s new rules, no pilgrim is allowed to proceed to the temple after 7 pm as it closes for the day at 10 pm.

The police last week had taken into preventive custody at least 68 people, including Bharatiya Janata Party leader K Surendran, after they allegedly defied orders at Nadapanthal (the covered walkway) near the hill shrine.