An image of Kerala Inspector General S. Sreejith, who had led the police force which tried to escort Hyderabad-based journalist Kavita Jakkal and Malayali activist Rahana Fatima into the temple, has surfaced on Internet.
In the image that has gone viral, Sreejith who was dressed in civil dress, can be seen praying to Lord Ayyappa with tears rolling down from his eyes. IG Sreejith has been in the centre of a storm since the opening of the Sabarimala shrine post Supreme Court verdict allowing women of menstrual age to enter the temple. He recieved stiff criticism from various corners for forcefully trying to make way for female of age between 10-50, entry of whom is prohibited inside the temple as per tradition.
“I am not going back on the stance. I am doing everything that the law says. Those women have the right to be here. I am not going back without taking them to the shrine. It is a temple, kindly stay calm,” Sreejith had told the protesting devotees when they blocked the way for the entry of adult women.
Kerala has been witnessing massive protests by Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple since the government decided to implement the Supreme Court order.
The agitation intensified since the shrine was opened for the five-day monthly puja on October 17. The devotees are guarding all the gates of the main and connected shrine to block entry of women of prohibited age. In past few days hundreds of Ayyappa devotees have prevented around 12 women who attempted to visit the shrine, forcing them to give up their plan.