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Sabarimala Temple opens as protesters clash with police

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The doors of the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala opened on Wednesday for the five-day-long monthly poojas, with the temple priests in attendance.

This is the first time the Temple is opening after the Supreme Court verdict permitting entry of women of all age groups into its sanctum sanctorum.

Protests continued outside the temple throughout the day.

Some protests were supported by local units of political parties as well. At Pamba and Nilackal at the foothill of the Temple, protests opposing the Supreme Court order turned violent and many protestors clashed with police.

This resulted in a police baton-charge. The police forcible removed some protestors.

Among them an elderly women and members of the erstwhile royal family.

Protesters were chanting the mantras of Lord Ayyappa. Some women journalists too had to face angry protesters as they tried to cover the story.

State DGP, assured the journalists that action would be taken at the earliest. Meanwhile, Section 144 has been imposed in Pamba, Nilackal and Sanyadanam for thursday.

To prevent any untoward incident, strict security arrangements have been made throughout the state including the surrounding areas of the temple.

Meanwhile Sabarimala Karma samithi has called a peaceful strike in the state from 6 am to 6 pm on Thursday.

The committee says that the strike will be peaceful.

The NDA has also announced support for the strike.In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on 28th Septemeber struck down a rule that disallowed girls and women in the 10-50 age group from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The then Chief Justice Dipak Misra-headed Constitution bench in a 4-1 verdict said the temple rule violated their right to equality and right to worship.

The judges concurred that the denial of right to women significantly denudes them of their right to worship.

Judges rejected all the arguments of the temple board which had resisted allowing women of all ages.

This included an argument that it was an age-old practice and an essential practice of Hindu religion and that followers of Ayyappa were a separate denomination.