SABARIMALA, Oct 18 (IANS): A Delhi-based female journalist. who managed to climb up the pathway to reach the famed Sabarimala temple, was on Thursday forced to abandon her trek following a massive protest.
Suhasini Raj, who works as the India reporter for The New York Times, along with her colleague, a foreign national, managed to go past the Pamba gateway but was stopped midway by angry devotees who erected a human wall before her.
According to witnesses, the protesters forced the two journalists to return.
As she was ascending, Raj kept saying that she did not come to pray but to do her work.
"It was a massive protest by the devotees. The protesters were sitting on the pathway shouting slogans against her. She had no other way but to return and she did that," said a witness here.
On Wednesday, the protesters, who opposed the entry of women in the 10-50 age group to the Sabarimala temple, clashed with the police and heckled female journalists as the pilgrimage season opened.
The temple opened for the first time on Wednesday after the September 28 Supreme Court ruling allowing entry of women aged between 10 and 50.
The district authorities have clamped a 24 hour Section 144 in a 30 square km radius of the temple town and the state is observing a statewide shutdown on Thursday called by a Hindu organisation backed by the BJP-led NDA.