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Kerala shutdowns as Sabarimala open for ‘Mandala Kalam’

November 18, 2018

Sabarimala temple reopened on 16 November for the famous Mandala Kalam that lasts for over two months. But a right wing organization called for a complete shutdown in Kerala on Saturday. KP Sasikala, who is the President of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, attempted to climb the hill shrine on Friday. But she was arrested by Kerala police. The shutdown in Kerala is a protest against the arrest of Sasikala.

Activist Trupti Desai had arrived at Kochi airport on Friday to visit Sabarimala. She, along with her six colleagues was not allowed to leave the airport due to angry mobs outside the airport. Finally, Trupti and team had to leave back by evening. Cab drivers refused to pick Trupti and her colleagues. But she said that she will return soon once the protests subside.

Social media users took to Twitter to express their concern over the shutdown.

Silence and twisting of facts in the Sabarimala issue by the Pseudo Secular Media is nauseating !!! Ms. KP Sasikala has been arrested By @vijayanpinarayi when she was nearing her darshan at 1 AM in the Mid Night !!! Not a word by Leftist media !!! #Sabarimala #SabarimalaProtests- Aravindha K, Twitter user.

On 2 September, the Supreme Court of India passed an order that women can enter the shrine, which is believed to be the abode of Lord Ayyappa who is celibate. Until then, women of menstruating age (10- 50 years) were denied entry into the temple. The order was implemented on 14 October. But no women have been able to enter the shrine due to angry mobs in and around Sabarimala. Women devotees who tried to enter the temple were manhandled by mobs in spite of heavy police security in the area.

Even though Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asserted that law and order will be maintained in the state, incidents of violence were reported in some parts of the state on Saturday.

Many social media users pointed out that people, irrespective of their gender, has the right to pray.

"You do know that a formal Nikah ceremony can't be performed under the Special Marriage Act, right? You want Muslim women to abandon their faith if they dare ask for equality? Hobson's choice, much? Also, Hindu women have a right to visit any temple they choose. #sabarimala", tweeted Preeti.

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