State Police Action In Communist Kerala Takes Its Toll? Number Of Sabarimala Devotees DipsPilgrims seen at Pamba base camp of Sabarimala Temple, on November 19, 2018 in Pathanamthitta. (Vivek R Nair/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Due to protests and other reasons, the number of pilgrims visiting Sabarimala has reportedly reduced. Tightened security was reported as one of the reasons for the above. Last year, the numbers touched nearly five lakh. This time, as of the opening week of the season, the numbers have reached only 1.42 lakh.

Due to low sales in the local food produce, there has been a forceful slowdown in production of the same. Supreme Court of India on 13 November said that the stay on the verdict delivered in September cannot be permitted. On the other hand, the Left Democratic Front government spearheaded by the CPI-M has been adamant on upholding the verdict and enforcing necessary measures to do the same.

On Wednesday, 21 November, 72 pilgrims were released on bail. They were earlier arrested for protesting against the verdict.

The Hans India quoted one of the pilgrims as saying, “I am coming for the past 18 years. This time, I could go up the hallowed 18 steps by touching all the steps with both my hands which I could never do all these years because of the rush. I have already had ‘darshan’ of the deity four times and am getting ready for a fifth time.”

K Surendran, Minister of Devasoms has been quoted by The Hans India as saying, “For the real pilgrims there are no issues and no problem. The restrictions are only for anti-social elements.”

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