After a pilgrimage to Saparimala temple was suspended amid devastating rain-related incidents in Kerala that killed more than 30 people, devotees on Monday protested in the Nilekal district, demanding the government be allowed to visit the temple.

State Revenue Minister K. Rajan said devotees would not be allowed to visit the Sabarimala temple amid rising waters in the Pampa River amid floods in the state, halting the pilgrimage until Oct. 21.

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However, some Sabarimala followers strongly objected to the government order and, in protest, stopped police cars and other government vehicles while raising slogans on Monday. They demanded that the state government allow them to visit Sabarimala immediately, as they said they had been waiting for two days at the Nilakal base camp.

With the water level rising due to heavy rains in the catchment areas, a red alert was issued regarding 10 dams in Kerala, two shutters of the Kaki dam were opened here and pilgrimages to Lord Ayaba temple in Sabarimala, K Rajan had been postponed. Report on Monday.

After a review meeting held at the Pathanamthitta district complex here to assess the situation, Rajan and State Health Minister Vina George said at a press conference that it was decided to open Kaki Dam to release about 100-200 cumex of water which will increase the water level of the Pampa River by about 15 cm.

They had said the decision was taken in light of the water level in the dam being above danger levels and also taking into account the heavy rain expected from October 20, which could aggravate the situation if some water is not released now.

In view of the expected deterioration of the weather from October 20 until October 24, according to IMD information, they said it would not be possible to allow pilgrimage to Lord Ayyaba temple in Sabarimala for Thula Masam poojas for which the shrine was inaugurated. From October 16.

Ministers said there was “no other option” but to halt the pilgrimage for now, otherwise it would be difficult to save everyone safely if the water level in the nearby Pampa River rose due to heavy rains expected from October 20. They said that two shutters of the Kaki Dam were opened as part of the measures to normalize the situation on the ground, while the rains eased temporarily, before the heavy rains expected on October 20.

With input from PTI.

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