Several Hindu outfits in Kerala agitating against entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple have urged media outlets not to depute women journalists to the shrine as their presence could “aggravate the situation”. The appeal was issued by Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint platform of right-wing outfits, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Aikyavedi, ahead of the temple's brief opening, which will be the second time after the Supreme Court allowed entry of girls and women in the age group of 10-50 into it.
The samiti has been spearheading the agitation against the apex court order lifting an age-old ban on entry of women in menstrual age group into the temple, whose deity Lord Ayyappa is a celibate.
When the temple opened for monthly puja for five days last month, first time after the court order, women reporters, on their way to cover the occasion, were heckled, their vehicles attacked and young female devotees forced to turn back as protesters, including activists of Hindu fringe groups, laid a siege to the road leading to Sabarimala.
In its letter to editors, a copy of which was released to the media, the samiti said even the entry of women journalists belonging to this age group as part of their job was also likely to aggravate the situation.
"Recognising your right to support or oppose the devotees stand on this issue, we hope you will not take a stand which would aggravate the situation," it said.