Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 5: The gates of Sabarimala temple reopened for a special pooja on Monday amid unprecedented security and all the women police officials deployed near the hill shrine complex were above the age of 50. At least 15 policewomen aged 50 years or more have been deployed at the 'Sannidhanam'.
Women police officials deployed at Sabarimala
Women in the age group of 10-50 are not allowed the enter the shrine for centuries, but the Supreme Court in September scrapped this practise and ordered that all women be allowed. Large-scale protests had erupted in different parts of Kerala on October 17 when the doors of the temple had opened for the first time after the Supreme Court's landmark order. (Image credit - ANI/Twitter)
Inspector General of Police MR Ajith Kumar
Inspector General of Police MR Ajith Kumar said that the women officials were chosen on the basis of eligibility and not age.
"They are all inspector and SI. We have brought eligible police officers and didn't choose on basis of their age," he said. (Image credit - ANI/Twitter)
Security at Lord Ayyappa's shrine
Reports say only women personnel who were not in the menstruating age group have been deployed for security inside the temple complex while those younger are stationed along the route from Nilackal base camp to Pamba, from where thepilgrims trek 5 km to the temple of Lord Ayyappa, its perennially celibate deity. (Image - ANI/Twitter)
Section 144 had been imposed on the Sabarimala hill shrine and the base camps of Pamba and Nilakkal as early as Sunday and will remain in force till Tuesday night when the temple doors will close. A strong police contingent, with female cops and commando units, was posted in Nilakkal and Pamba to quash any move of violence by protesters.
"We've made adequate security arrangements for facilitating ‘darshan' of all devotees. We have various threats in this area, taking into consideration various threat perceptions, we've provided security arrangements for everyone," said IG Ajith Kumar, security in-charge of Sabarimala.
Meanwhile, both the Congress and the BJP have lashed out at the Left Front government for its decision not to file a review petition against the apex court's order lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine.