Eight protesters held in late night crackdown at Nilackal

The police cracked down on protesters at Nilackal, the entry point to the Sabarimala hill temple, arresting eight persons from the Namajapa pandal of the Sabarimala Aachara Samrakshana Samiti late on Tuesday. By late evening, the police had also taken control of the main road to Pampa, with Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran driving through under tight security for Wednesday’s official review meeting ahead of the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season, beginning on November 18. The temple is scheduled to open for its monthly rituals on Wednesday evening. Additional Director-General of Police Anil Kant and district police chief T. Narayanan are camping at Nilackal. The police have declared Sabarimala a security zone under Section 53 of the Police Act. The police action came at the end of a tense day at Nilackal as women protesters — many from the local tribal community — stopped and screened all Pampa-bound vehicles amid growing protests against the Supreme Court’s verdict permitting entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50. Nilackal, has been the venue of protests for the last one week with prayers, or Namajapa Yagnam, being held under the banner of the Sabarimala Protection Council and the Sabarimala Aachara Samrakshana Samiti. The vehicle blockade continued well into the evening, with women devotees screening all vehicles to ensure that they did not carry young women, before allowing them to proceed beyond Nilackal. The announcement of a few women activists planning to visit the temple apparently prompted the intensive screening of vehicles. Following the vehicle blockade, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands. He reiterated the government’s resolve to implement the Supreme Court verdict and provide all protection to devotees. Mr Vijayan also ruled out the question of the government going in for a review petition or bringing in any kind of legislation.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/vehicle-checks-raise-tensions-at-nilackal/article25243191.ece

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