Hundreds of policemen including women cops above 50 and armed commandos deployed at the temple town of Sabarimala

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Over reports of a woman below 50 years  attempting to enter the temple, hundreds of protesters gathered at Sannidhanam or the inner courtyard of the hilltop shrine and some targeted the media.

A video journalist was injured in the conflict at Sabarimala on Tuesday morning.

The protests strengthened over Lalitha, a devotee from Thrissur who had come to the temple with her son. The clashes stopped only after the police confirmed that she is 52 and so, allowed to visit the shrine that is off limits for women of a menstrual age, or between 10 and 50 years. Lalitha and her son were escorted to the temple by the police.

The Sabarimala shrine opened on Monday for the second time in three weeks for a two-day special puja with the help of security over fear of protests by those opposing the Supreme Court’s order allowing women of all age groups into the temple.

No woman below 50 has been able to visit Sabarimala temple since the top court’s order on September 28. A dozen women tried, but were blocked by hundreds of protesters from approaching the shrine. Devotees have refused to accept the court order as they insist that allowing women of a menstrual age is an insult to the celibate deity Lord Ayyappa.

Yesterday a 25-year-old woman heading for the shrine with her husband and two children was stopped at Pamba, one of the two base camps before devotees started the uphill trek to the shrine.

A police official at Pamba told on Monday that they had information about a woman on the way to the temple but nobody had approached them so far for security.

Hundreds of police personnel, including armed commandos and women cops above 50, being deployed in large numbers, the temple town has virtually turned into a fortress. Surveillance cameras and mobile phone jammers are also installed.

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