Pathanamthitta: A massive protest unfolded today as vehicles carrying Ayyappa devotees travelling to Sannidhanam were halted at layovers. The situation escalated when vehicles were brought to a standstill from 5:00 AM, causing pilgrims to take to the roads in protest. Police authorities said that vehicular passage would only be allowed based on a reduction in traffic.
Police officials explain that the imposition of restrictions is because of the surge in the number of devotees gathered in Erumeli. The devotees have been stuck on the roads for several hours without access to food. After this, there was a heated verbal exchange between the devotees and the police.
A significant number of Ayyappa devotees were stranded near the Poovarani temple on the Pala-Ponkunnam Road. The absence of adequate shelters has plunged pilgrims into a crisis, leaving them unable to fulfil their basic needs. A few vehicles were temporarily allowed to pass because Ayyappa devotees sat on the road and protested. Similar control measures are reported in Kanjirappally, Mundakayam, and Erumeli.