Confirming that 47-year old Sri Lankan national Sasikala visited Sabarimala temple this week, police sources released CCTV visuals of the woman walking around at Sannidhanam, the Times of India reported.
The visual captured by the police surveillance camera at Sreekovil (Cam 19/22:46:46 to 22:46:50) shows the woman and an accompanying man coming out of the Sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum) after darshan. The woman is carrying irumudikettu on her head. The woman, who is a native of Karaitivu in Sri Lanka, was seen at Sannidhanam around 10.45pm.
TOI on Friday exclusively carried the report of Sasikala+ worshiping at the temple on late Thursday night. TOI also reported that Sasikala thus became the first woman to climb 18 holy steps and have darshan.
Women in menstruating age were barred at the shrine citing the celibate nature of Ayyappan, the presiding deity. The Supreme Court in September lifted the age restriction.
Keralites Bindu and Kanakadurga, the two women who had darshan on Jan 2, were taken to the temple by police through staff entrance, avoiding holy steps.
While trekking down to Pamba, Sasikala told a crew of television reporters that she couldn’t offer prayer at the temple as police returned here from near 18 steps. “I am a devotee and I have come here after observing 48 days vrita. I am afraid of none”, she said. She had trekked the 5.5 km route on bare foot.
Sources in the police said Sasikala had to publicly deny having darshan as she was concerned about the safety. “The crew of journalists and suspected protesters terrorised her and husband. She told us that they wanted to go out from Sabarimala safely as they have plans to visit a few other temples before returning”, said a senior police officer.
Though Sri Lankan nationals, Sasikala and family are now settled in France.