Dec 23 : Activists of Manithi, an anarchist women’s outfit, on Saturday night descended on Pampa to visit Sabarimala in violation of the age-old traditions. The Kerala Police, on the instruction of the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, and his advisor and senior CPI(M) leader Jayarajan, provided security to about 11 activists from Tamil Nadu.
As reports of the visit of activists became public, protests erupted across Kerala. The police brutally lathicharged devotees who tried to prevent the vehicle they were travelling in with police escort. The police tried to smuggle in activists through different routes to hoodwink the devotees.
Selvi, the chief of Manithi, said she would not return without having darshan at the shrine. According to the traditions, the irumudi kit is a part of an Ayyappa devotee’s paraphernalia and it is filled by guru swami in the house of the devotee or a local temple. These women were not carrying irumudi. When they realized that irumudi was essential, the activists approached Pampa Ganapathi temple priest who refused to help. Then they filled the irumudi on their own without following the rituals.
However, attempts by activists escorted by the police were foiled by thousands of devotees, including women and children, who blocked all the way to Sabarimala. Although the police arrested a few devotees using brutal force, the protest only intensified. The police made way to Manithi anarchists, devotees chased them away. It was a face loss for the police that even top officers had to run for cover.