Women form 385-mile 'wall' in protest against against Sabarimala temple ban

03 January, 2019, 04:22 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Some 5 Million Indian Women Form Massive Human Chain for Gender Equality (PHOTO)

A day after millions of women stood together in the Indian state to form a almost 400-mile-long human chain to call for equality, two women made history-and sparked protests and a call for a state-wide shutdown-when they entered the Sabarimala temple in the state of Kerala in the early hours Wednesday.

Police deployed tear gas at protesters in the Indian state of Kerala.

Shrine opened after "purification ritual " Chennai: Taken by surprise and equally shocked after two menstruating women broke their resistance and entered the Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha temple to finally offer darshan, the Sabarimala Karma Samithi led by BJP and other right-wing organizations besides the Congress party announced scaling up of protests till they succeed in unseating chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Police with batons charged at demonstrators who were trying to enforce a shutdown of shops and businesses in the area called for by the Sabarimala temple hierarchy. Protests were reported in several other cities.

Police were guarding the homes of the women after they left the temple and were prepared to let more women enter the temple, he said. News channels reported the chief priest briefly shut the temple for "purification" rituals after the women visited.

The country's Supreme Court ordered the temple to lift the ban past year, but no woman below 50 had been able to get in, until today.

The women who entered the temple premises were in their 40s, according to Reuters partner ANI. [.] It's clear that the women were under police protection.

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Outrage grew after two women - backed by a landmark court ruling - entered a shrine which has historically been forbidden to females of menstruating age. They argue that the court has ignored their belief that the deity Ayyappa was celibate.

The women trekked the hill a day after the state-sponsored 620-km-long "wall of women", which was formed from Kasargode in the northern part of the state until the southern-most district of Thiruvananthapuram, to reignite the spirit of renaissance. Media reports said some were heckled by right-wing activists.

The Supreme Court is to start hearing a legal challenge to its ruling on January 22. A king of the Pandalam dynasty, which is still active in temple operations, found and raised him.

The sacred offerings, tied in a cloth usually carried on the head or shoulders, include coconuts, rose water, rice and pepper. "There was a tense atmosphere in Sabarimala", she said. For the first time in the history, the temple has been closed due to a breaking of tradition.

"Of course, I support the move to allow women of all ages into the temple". Their entry at Sabarimala was taboo for generations and formalised by the Kerala High Court in 1991. Instead the state is run by a coalition of left-wing parties which have said they will enforce the court ruling.

Bindu Hariharan, 42, a professor of legal studies, was one of the women who entered the temple on Wednesday.

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