The left government claim that 560 women between 10 and 50 years of age reserve darshan in advance.
The Kerala police are weighing the use of military helicopters to airlift women devotees to Sabarimala from Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi as a last and drastic recourse to save them from running the gauntlet of ‘Save Sabarimala’ protesters.
The real devotees should walk to the shine through the forest path and the Sabarimala is not a place to visit using choppers. Rjagopal, an Ayappa devotee said to CBC news.
A left government is trying to make Sabarimala is a tourist place and he added that who will spend the cost for chopper? The women who try to enter the shrine will pay for it? or the government will pay for it?
As many as 560 women between the ages of 10 and 50 have expressed their intent to visit the temple when it opens for the 41-day Mandalam-Makaravilakku period on November 17.
Top officials said most of the women who had registered themselves with the police queue management portal appeared to be educated professionals and their children. An estimated 3.20 lakh men had also reserved their darshan time in advance through the portal.
We take 41 days fasting and going to Sabarimala to visit Ayappa to get peace of mind. Do you think it will possible to get that with 15000 police surround? Ram Kumar another devotee told to CBC.
State law enforcement is faced with the onerous task of providing them safe passage. A senior official said the police strategy to facilitate the ascend to the temple would hinge on the Supreme Court decision on November 13.
The police said the helicopter would require the Forest Department’s concurrence to use a landing spot cleared in the early 1980s for the visit of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the temple.
However, the tour did not transpire. An official said pilgrims often used helicopters to visit the Kedarnath temple on the Himalayan ranges.
Officers said the police would have to clear a safe path for women pilgrims from the landing spot to the temple and back.
The police said their earlier position was to avoid the use of force against demonstrators at Sannidhanam.
The left government, which is intent on upholding the right of women to worship at Sabarimala, is locked in an acrimonious tussle with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
Both the opposition parties want the government to file a review petition against the order in the Supreme Court.
The ruling front and the Opposition parties have launched massive propaganda campaigns to elaborate on their respective views on the Sabarimala women entry issue.
Photo credit: Virgin Experience Days