Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Clashes after women enter flashpoint Indian temple

Clashes after women enter flashpoint Indian temple

In wake of the verdict, a group of radical believers, under threat of violence, prevented any women aged 10-50 to even approach the temple.

A video from a local police official showed two women inside the temple with their heads covered. Bindu told media that they entered the temple via the VIP lounge and did not take the traditional "pathinettam padi" (holy steps leading to sanctum sanctorum).

On Tuesday it backed a protest by thousands of women, who formed a 620 km (385 mile) human chain, termed the "women's wall", in support of "gender equality" and access to the temple. "Police have given them security", Vijayan told media here.

The two women were identified as Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanaka Durga, 44.

BBC Hindi reports that five million women from all over Kerala lined up along highways to form a chain "which stretched from the northern tip of Kasaragod to the southern end in Thiruvanthapuram". "We had issued standing orders to police to provide all possible protection to any woman who wants to enter the temple".

Extending support to the campaign, women from several organisations and social activists came together to form a almost one km-long human chain from Dadar Chowpatty to Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Tuesday evening. They argue that the court has ignored their beliefs that the deity Ayyappa was celibate. Police have clashed with devotees supporting the ban and have arrested more than 2,000 people.

Women protest a Supreme Court of India verdict allowing the entry of women into Sabarimala temple, December 26, 2018 in Thiruvanathapuram, India.

Devaswom Minister Surendran said that the government was unaware of the visit of the two women to the Sabarimala temple.

Social activist Trupti Desai Wednesday hailed the entry of two women in their mid forties into the Lord Aayyappa hill shrine in Kerala's Sabarimala, saying it is a "victory of equality".

Kerala's Sabarimala Temple was reopened after being shut for two hours for purification following the entry of two women devotees into the shrine on Wednesday.

Women are still barred from a handful of Hindu temples in India. Noted activist G Mallika viewed this as a clear indication that the trouble in Sabarimala was created by right-wing activists who entered the hillock disguised as devotees.

The gold-plated Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple complex sits atop a 3,000-foot (915-metre) hill in a forested tiger reserve.

Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party spearheaded the local protests against the Supreme Court ruling in Kerala, India's only communist-led state and considered one of the most progressive in the country.

NSS, which has filed a review plea in the Supreme Court challenging its verdict, expressed hope that the top court would take a favourable decision.

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