Sabarimala row: Angry protesters attack 4 women journalists, vehicle smashed

Mob attempts to block first entry of women of menstruating age to sacred Hindu temple

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She had to put up with the protestors at the temple, who created a ruckus in trying to stop her.

Some women journalists faced the ire of a section of protesters agitating against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age into the Sabariamala temple and their vehicles attacked in Nilackal.

The Network of Women in Media condemned the attack on the women journalists and said that it is up to the government to ensure that mobs do not interfere with freedom of expression, the public's right to information and the media's right to report.

This enraged traditionalists, including supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Kerala's Communist government pledged to uphold the ruling and deployed some 500 police, including 100 women officers, to the site.

We demand that the Chief Minister and government of Kerala take immediate action against the agitators who let violent assailants loose on journalists, obstructing them from doing their duty. Why Sabarimala Didn't Allow Women into The Shrine in Kerala; All About The History of The Ayyappan Temple. They alleged the police did not offer protection and escort them to the shrine.

Ms Saritha Balan, a journalist from online publication The News Minute, was kicked by protesters while accompanying devotees, she told Indian TV.

Unfazed by the unfolding violence, Madhavi, a gutsy woman from Andhra Pradesh in her 40s, tried to trek the Sabarimala hills to reach the Lord Ayyappa temple but was forced to return to Pamba, menaced by agitated male devotees.

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The TV journalist was sitting in her auto when the protestors surrounded her vehicle and blocked her from entering the temple. "We want to save our traditions".

This was overturned by the Supreme Court last month, with judges observing that "the right to practice religion is available to both men and women". "Ayyappa needs to be respected".

"The overwhelming majority of women oppose the Supreme Court ruling", he told AFP.

Petitioners who appealed to the Supreme Court to lift the ban said that this custom violated equality guaranteed under India's constitution.

Two years ago, activists successfully campaigned to end a ban on women entering the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra state. Catch live updates on women's entry into Sabarimala temple in Kerala here.

Lord Ayappa, the presiding deity of the temple, is considered to be celibate by the devotees. The operators of a temple in the northwestern state of Rajasthan believe the Hindu god Kartikeya curses women who enter the temple, instead of blessing them.

On September 28, a five-judge bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple saying that "no physiological and biological factor can be given legitimacy if it doesn't pass the test of conditionality". Up to 50 million devotees visit the temple every year.

He claimed to have the support of several "scientists" that concurred with the view that the "positive energy" in a temple can be polluted by the entry of menstruating women.

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