Pamba, October 21: A 47-year-old female devotee suffered a panic attack enroute to the hilltop shrine of Sabarimala as a group of protesters heckled her. The incident was reported near Pamba, one of the base camp at Sabarimala. The woman, identified as Balamma, was subsequently rushed to the nearest government hospital, where she is being currently treated.
According to police officials privy to the case, the woman had been trekking since the early hours of the day. However, a group of protesters on the temple steps doubted whether she had crossed the age of 50. On checking her ID card, she was found to be 47. This compelled the aggressive mob to heckle her. Gripped with panic, Balamma felt unconscious. After the police personnel stationed nearby were alerted, she was rushed for medical attention. Sabarimala Protests Similar to Babri Masjid Demolition, RSS Orchestrating Violence, Says CPM Chief Sitaram Yechury.
Chaos has prevailed in Sabarimala over the past five days -- ever since the temple was opened up -- as the Supreme Court last month quashed the ban on the entry of women between the age of 10 to 50.
A major section of Lord Ayyappa devotees have objected to the apex court's ruling, claiming that the sentiments of Hindus would be hurt if women of reproductive age are allowed to visit the Sabarimala shrine.
The Travancore Devaswom Board has also marked its dissent against the court's verdict, but is yet to file a review petition. Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has supported the judicial order, but has been unable to provide adequate protection to women who want to visit the sanctum sanctorum.
Over the past four days, nine women have attempted to visit the shrine -- all of them being unsuccessful. The temple, which remains opened for only five days in a month, will be closed tomorrow.