Mounting protests force Manithi members to return

Kochi: In a dramatic turn of events, the women of the Manithi outfit, who were first allowed to proceed towards the hill shrine after the police arrested the protesters from the area, were forced to retreat after a large crowd of protesters intensified the protests.

The women of the Manithi outfit began to trek to the hills under strong police protection. But the protesters manhandled the police and were trying to prevent the police from arresting the agitators.

Unable to deal with the intensifying protests, the Manithi outfit members were asked by the police to retreat and were safely taken to the police control room. Efforts are on to take them safely by a KSRTC bus.

The members of the Manithi outfit had hardly trekked 100 metres when they were blocked by the protesters.

Earlier in the day the women members of the Chennai-based "Manithi" outfit, were squatting on the road since 5.20 am following the continuing protests. Police have thrown a security ring around them.

The 5 members returned to Nilakkal under strong police protection.

The talks held by police with Selvi, the coordinator of the outfit, failed as she insisted that they would not return without darshan.

The women group reached Pamba by 3.30 am through the Idukki-Kambamedu route in Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

No intention to create trouble: Manithi member

Meanwhile, a member of the outfit told Mathrubhumi News that their only aim was to seek the darshan of Lord Ayyappa and not to create any trouble or protest. One batch of members of the Manithi outfit had reached the place this morning in the wee hours and they affirmed that they would not return without seeing the Lord.

“We have not come here to protest or create trouble. We have come to get the blessings of Lord Ayyappa. But we are being blocked by a huge crowd. The apex court order allowing women of all ages to visit the temple is being violated. We have taken a bath in Pampa and have irumudikettu. All the members will not climb the holy steps.”

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