With the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala all set to open for a day’s pooja on November 5, prohibitory orders will come into force from Friday night till Tuesday at the foothills Pamba and other areas to prevent any untowards incidents, police said.
Sabarimala will be under heavy security cover from Saturday night in the backdrop of the violent protests witnessed last month against entry of young women in the 10-50 age group.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC banning assembly of four or more people would be clamped at Pamba, Nilackal and Illuvangal, according to police sources.
The shrine had been opened for five days from October 17-22 for monthly poojas when it witnessed angry protests by devotees and other outfits over entry of women in the ‘barred’ age group.
At least a dozen young women had made a vain attempt to offer prayers, but had to retreat followingprotests against the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Democratic Front government’s decision to implement the Supreme Court order permitting women of all ages to trek the hills.
Some 543 cases have been registered in connection with the violent protests and 3,701 persons arrested till Thursday, according to police.
The BJP observed a hartal in Pathanamthitta Friday after the body of a missing Ayyappa devotee was recovered. The party alleged that he had died in police action against protesting devotees at Nilakkal.
Describing the BJP protest as “unnecessary”, Devaswom (temple administration) Minister Kadakampally Surendran said it was only to cause difficulties to the people.
Even the deceased’s family has not alleged there was any foul play, he told reporters.
Alleging that a “false campaign” was on against the police, a senior official said he had died in an accident