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Sabarimala row: Devotees force woman journalist to turn back

A Delhi-based woman journalist of a foreign media outlet, who trekked the Sabarimala Hill, was Thursday stopped midway by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

The journalist accompanied by her male colleague, a foreigner, descended the hills from Marakkoottam area in the face of mounting protest by Ayyappa devotees.

Reporters of Malayalam news channels who followed the journalist to the hill shrine said the devotees shouted slogans ladies go back .

Some even allegedly hurled abuses at her opposing her entry into the ancient shrine, the reports said.

Police had thrown a security ring around the woman and her colleague.

Local TV crew said she is in her late 40s.However, there is no confirmation regarding her age.

The woman told protesters that she was a journalist and she was on her way to the shrine for carrying out her professional duty.

The police told her that they were ready to provide her security but she decided not to climb the hills further, police said.

The journalist and her colleague were later taken to Pamba police station.

If she had been able to climb the hills, she would have become the first woman of the menstrual age group to visit the Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa after the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

Yesterday, women journalists were heckled, their vehicles smashed and young female Ayyappa devotees turned back as hordes of activists of Hindu fringe groups besieged the road leading to the temple.

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