Sabarimala temple will be opened again for two days, 5 and 6 November for special pooja. Called the Sree Chithira Thirunal Aatta Vishesham, the ritual is done to celebrate the birthday of the last king of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, whose birth anniversary falls on Tuesday, according to the temple's official website.
Sabarimala will be opened on today evening by 5 pm for pooja. The temple will be closed once more by 10 pm tomorrow.
Only yesterday, local Hindu outfits asked media centres to not send women journalists to the site, even if they are only doing their jobs as this might aggravate the situation there.
Kerala High Court instructs the state government to not interfere with temple activities
Kerala High Court rules that the devotees and media persons at the Sabarimala Temple should not be blocked. The government has been asked by the court to not interfere with day to day activities within the temple.
Also, the High Court has called for an inquiry on the department level to be conducted on the policemen who were caught on camera damaging parked vehicles along the way to the temple, reports the ANI.
Sabarimala Thantri and Melshanti are banned from speaking to the media
The Kerala Police have asked the Sabarimala high clergy to not speak with or make statements to the press, this includes the Thantri (chief priest) and Melshanti (operational priest), reports FirstPost. The media has also been asked to not try and speak with the priests there.
Signal jammers have also been installed at the sanctum, notes the report, so mobile phones are unlikely to be operational up in the holy shrine.
Meanwhile, the BJP are reported to have started a protest at the Thiruvananthapuram bus station as buses were stopped and not allowed to go to Pamba from there. Also, the reports mention that the Police has locked up all government operated guest houses at the sannidhanam
Priests threaten to shut down temple if women enter sanctum
Priests at the Ayyappa temple, Sabarimala, have warned the people that they will shut the temple down if women between the age of 10 and 50 entered the "sanctum sanctorum" the most holy place in the temple.
Local media reports that both the thantri (high priest) and melshanthi (chief priest) have made it clear to S Ajit Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kerala, when he called them to speak about the arrangements that need be made for the special Chithira Atha Visesham pooja.
The high priests had made a similar statement in October when the temple was opened for the first time since the SC ordered the gates of Sabarimala opened for women of all ages.
CCTV cameras, face-detection technology deployed at shrine to keep protestors at bay
Police around Sabarimala have reportedly installed face detection machines to find and keep protestors from infiltrating the temple premises dressed as devotees, reports the FirstPost. The cameras can scan and find protestors with computers having about 4,000 faces to look for. These are the same people who indulged in violence when the temple was opened last month for pooja.
This marks the first time that face-detection is being used in Kerala for security, notes the report. Apart from face detection, high-quality CCTV cameras are also put in place covering all of the Nilakkal and Pamba base camps.
"Activist" and president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena Rahul Easwar shares his personal number
Rahul Easwar, president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena, one of the groups that is spearheading the #savesabarimala movement, Tweeted out his personal mobile number to protestors, urging them to call him on anything related to saving Hindu beliefs.
My BSNL number for the next 2 days - 9400373502 ; pls feel free to call from tomorrow onwards for anything related to #Sabarimala agitation & #SaveSabarimala. i am just 1 of 1000s of people who are coming to save our #Hindu beliefs, & against #Feminazi invasion into our Temples.— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) November 4, 2018
Devotees gather around Nilackal, Erumeli base camps
Pathnamthitta Superintendent of Police T Narayanan reportedly told PTI that arrangements have been made in advance for devotees to have a smooth 'darshan'.
Devotees of the lord Ayyappa from neighbouring states Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have arrived at Erumeli. They will only be allowed to see the 'sannidhanam' tomorrow (Tuesday).
Section 144 of CrPc, that bans the assembly of four or more people, has been put in effect at Pamba, Nilackal, Elavungal, and Sannidhanam. It was in effect since midnight on Saturday and 72 hours since then.
The Pandalam royal family, the custodians of the treasures of the Sabarimala temple have made a statement wherein they have said that the shrine is going through tough times as it has been taken over by the Police.
Women enter Sabarimala for the first time ever, to help keep other women out
Women police have been stationed in the Ayyappa temple for the first time ever in the temple's history, reports the FirstPost. The report notes that 15 women police have been placed at the temple premises, they are all, however, over the age of 50. They are there specifically to deal with women protestors.
If necessary, around 30 more women police ranked circle inspector and sub-inspector, all over the age of 50 could be deployed at the Sannidhanam for security, said the local police.
Pamba on high alert
The Pamba base camp has been put on high alert as security forces reach the spot, over 2,300 police officers have been deployed there as the temple readies to reopen for the second time since the Supreme Court ordered the temple to allow women of all ages into the shrine.
Section 144 is also in effect at Pamba, that means groups of no more than 4 are allowed to assemble in the area.