State High-Handedness, Lost Tradition? Third Woman, 46-Year-Old Sri Lankan Visits Sabarimala TempleDevotees visiting the Sabarimala Temple. (Photo by Shankar/The India Today Group/Getty Images) 

On Thursday (3 January 2019), just a day after two women backed by ruling communist Kerala government stealthily entered the Sabarimala temple, another woman, an ethnic Tamil citizen of Sri Lanka by the name of Sasikala, has visited the shrine along with her husband, reports TOI.

Unlike the two women before her who had sneaked inside through an alternative route, Sasikala climbed the ‘18 holy steps’ to visit the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Sasikala’s journey on the route to the shrine was facilitated by an escort of plainclothes policemen. A change of guard was made when a new police team took over Marakoottam, in a bid to cause confusion among the protesting devotees who believed that the mission to have been abandoned.

This latest incident comes on the heels of widespread protests by the Hindu community across the state, backed by different organisations and BJP. The protests saw clashes between devotees, cops and workers from different ideological groups and parties, while trying to enforce a 12-hour shutdown.

The protests took a violent turn when a Sabarimala Karma Samithi worker succumbed to injuries by stone-pelting communist cadres. Three BJP workers are also reportedly injured in stabbing attacks by members of Social Democratic Party of India, the political face of the Popular Front of India, an organisation accused of harbouring radical Islamist ideology and supporting terror groups. Over 100 people suffered injuries in the violence, including 21 policemen.

Even as the CPI (M) Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that political forces were trying to sabotage the verdict, Congress and BJP leaders came out in support of the protesters. RSS head for Kerala, P E B Menon, demanded that union government should mitigate the crisis by issuing an ordinance to disallow women’s entry into the holy shrine.

Also read: ‘Good Hindu’ For Sabarimala Devotees? Shashi Tharoor, Kerala Congress MPs Protest CPM Backed ‘Maoist’ Women Entry

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