Kozhikode: Despite the entry of women of menstruating age to the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala and the hartal and violence that followed, the inflow of pilgrims remains almost steady, reveals statistics. On December 26, the day of Mandalapooja, the inflow of pilgrims was at its maximum. Apart from that, from December 31 to January 3, when the inflow of pilgrims till noon is calculated, the figures are almost steady.
While nearly 52,000 pilgrims arrived at the temple for darshan on December 31, the last day of 2018 till noon, on the New Year, the inflow of Sabarimala pilgrims in the same duration is nearly 53,000. On January 2, when it was confirmed that two young women entered the temple for darshan, it was closed for an hour by the tantri and the inflow till noon remained at less than 45,000.
As a mark of protest against the young women entry, Sabarimala Karma Samithi called for a hartal on January 3, supported by the BJP and other Hindutva outfits and violence was unleashed across the state. However, the statistics available from Sabarimala shows that the violence and protests have not much affected the inflow of pilgrims in the same duration – it crossed 57,000 on Thursday till noon.
From there onward also, the inflow of pilgrims did not reduce and was almost on a steady note, according to the number available from the security forces. On January 4, it crossed 54,000 till noon and the number was above 51,000 on January 5 and around 45,500 on January 6. Till noon, on January 7, the number of pilgrims who reached Sabarimala crossed 57,000.
Kerala witnessed violence in large scale ever since chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed the entry of two women – Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga – in their 40s, to the Ayyappa temple. When the Sabarimala Karma Samithi called a hartal and BJP and other Hindutva outfits supported it, the Congress resorted to observing a Black day. Congressmen were injured after being hit by the chief minister's pilot vehicle in the afternoon. They were reportedly waving black flags at the vehicle.