Police arrested 68 protesters at the Sabarimala temple (Kerala state) on the evening (local time) of Sunday, November 18, in ongoing unrest over a ban on women entering the temple. Hundreds of protesters have sought to block women from entering the Hindu shrine, despite a heavy security presence and police escorts. Protesters also blocked Cochin International Airport (COK) in Kochi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party members have led protests across the state. Further protests and unrest at Sabarimala and throughout the state are likely in the coming weeks as the temple remains open to pilgrims until December 27.
On September 28, the Supreme Court overturned a ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50 entering the Sabarimala temple, a Hindu shrine to the god Ayyappan. It is open from November 16 to December 27 for the Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam Hindu festival. On November 13, the Supreme Court announced it would hear petitions to the ruling on January 22, 2019. However, there would be no stay on the previous ruling and women would remain legally able to enter the temple.
Individuals in India, especially in Kerala, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid public gatherings due to the risk of violence, anticipate disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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