New York Times Reporter Drops Sabarimala Trek As Protesters Throw Stones

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Pooja Prasaanna of the Republic TV channel said the protesters hurled stones at a police van where she and her crew members had taken shelter after their auto was targeted, and snatched away batons carried by some police officers who tried to shield them. Incensed over Kerala's Left Front government's decision not to file a review plea against the Supreme Court verdict, protesters pelted police with stones and the latter hit right back with vengeance wielding batons with telling effect, leaving many fallen and writhing in pain on the road.

The Network of Women in Media condemned the attack on the women journalists and said that it is up to the government to ensure that mobs do not interfere with freedom of expression, the public's right to information and the media's right to report.

Sabarimala: Amid violent protests, the doors of Sabarimala temple in Kerala opened on Wednesday for the first time since the Supreme Court lifted the centuries-old ban on entry of women of menstrual age.

The groups, that include Shiv Sena, a former ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, say the prohibition on women "of menstrual age" is required to appease the temple's chief deity, Ayyappan, depicted as a yoga-practising god considered eternally celibate by followers.

Kerala's Communist government pledged to uphold the ruling and deployed some 500 police, including 100 women officers, to the site.

Thousands of protesters gathered on the roads leading to the hilltop temple and heckled any woman they suspected was going there. A reporter from The News Minute (TNM) and another from the Republic TV were brutally attacked by the protesters though they were in Nilakkal.

A family of four from Andhra Pradesh state, including at least one woman, were shielded by police carrying sticks after protesters shouting slogans prevented them from reaching the temple.

"Who are men to decide where women can go or not?" she said.

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Pooja Prasanna of Republic TV, who was attacked by protesters, said that she was assaulted even when she was surrounded by cops. "We want to save our traditions. Ayyappa needs to be respected".

Indian police beat a Hindu activist as he pleads for his own safety as protesters rallied against a Supreme Court verdict revoking a ban on women's entry to a Hindu temple, in Nilackal in southern Kerala state.

On Wednesday, the temple will open its doors at 5pm for monthly rituals which will end on October 22.

Nilackal, India: Tensions flared in India on Wednesday as traditionalists tried to stop women visiting one of Hinduism´s most sacred temples, with angry crowds opposed to female pilgrims surrounding vehicles and intimidating journalists.

Unruly mob took to the streets to prevent women in the age group of 10 to 50 from making their way to worship Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala temple. State Congress working president K. Sudhakaran led his party workers in a protest at Nilakkal to express solidarity with Ayyappa devotees.

Every year, millions of male devotees trek up a steep hill to visit the shrine, which is believed to be about 800 years old.

He added that several "scientists" had concurred with the view that the "positive energy" in a temple can be polluted by the entry of menstruating women.

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