The Supreme Court, on September 28, ruled women between the ages of 10 and 50 years will be allowed to visit the Sabarimala Temple. So far, only men could visit the temple, and women in the menstruating age were kept out.
Verdict aside, the reality, however, is vastly different. Thousands of protestors heckled, intimidated, and in some cases, even attacked women entering the temple. No one was spared, not even those in the line of duty – journalists to be specific. Here is a big shout out to women journalists who stood their ground, and continued to report from the Sabarimala Temple.
1) The News Minute’s Saritha Balan
Saritha Balan was on the road leading to the Sabarimala Temple in a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus when angry protestors pulled her out and attacked her. Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief of NewsMinute took to Twitter to speak about Saritha and Republic TV’s Pooja Prasanna.
To ALL THE TRIGGERED PEOPLE ON MY TL. Neither Pooja nor Saritha had any plans to enter temple. They were KMS away from Pamba. They were wearing colored clothes so people would know they are not devotees. That apart, protesters have no right to attack anyone, devotee or reporter
— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) October 17, 2018
2) Republic TV’s South India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna
According to Republic, Pooja was attacked by a mob of over 100 people at Nilakkal, which is on the way to the temple.
#BREAKING: Republic TV crew attacked at Poes Garden, camera broken, attacked by private security guards
— Republic (@republic) June 11, 2017
Following the attack, Pooja confronted Rahul Esram from the Sava Sabrimala group that allegedly led the protests.
#Sabarimala | I refused to call them devotees as they abused me and other journalists. They assaulted my crew. They forced me out of the car, they stole from our car. It was planned, it wasn’t spontaneous: Republic TV’s Pooja Prasanna pic.twitter.com/EK3ahFfwDl
— Republic (@republic) October 17, 2018
3) CNN News 18 reporter Radhika Ramaswamy
Radhika was also heckled at Nilakkal and a mob attacked the crew’s vehicle, damaging it.
A glimpse of how we were heckled by a mob in Nilakkal #sabarimala #SabarimalaShowdown @CNNnews18 pic.twitter.com/M00f9fMBcB
— Radhika Ramaswamy (@radhika1705) October 17, 2018
4) India Today’s reporter Mausami Singh
According to a DailyO article, Mausami and her crew were on a bus when one of the protestors slapped her cameraman, and another tugged on her dupatta and pulled her hair. Mausami ended her article saying, “Well, I am here at Lord Ayyappa’s door and even after all that went down, I don’t regret being here and doing my job. And I will not hesitate to do it again.”
5) NDTV’s Kerala’s Bureau Chief Sneha Mary Koshy
Sneha Mary Koshy and her crew were heckled at the base camp in Pamba. In an NDTV blog, she said, “In a situation as this, I and other women journalists get immense pride to report what is happening on the ground accurately. It is our job. There is no question of gender here.”
Amid the protests and lack of regard for the Supreme Court’s decision, no matter what organisation these journalists belonged to, what stands out is that came together and stood as one unit.
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