2 women enter Hindu temple in India, breaking years-long ban

Some 5 Million Indian Women Form Massive Human Chain for Gender Equality (PHOTO)

Some 5 Million Indian Women Form Massive Human Chain for Gender Equality (PHOTO)

While the group from Tamil Nadu returned home, the two from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts returned and scripted history in a dramatic pre-dawn mission on 2 January. They want women to enter the temple.

But the temple refused to abide by the court ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit it had been blocked by thousands of devotees supporting the ban. "There were men, too, who stood up in support and solidarity, affirming their commitment to gender equality".

The result has been a ban on women ages 10-50 from entering the temple.

Later, media reported it had reopened. Four policemen in civilian clothes also accompanied them. They believe that the right-wing activists may have dropped guard after the Devaswom minister's appeal. The protests are orchestrated by the BJP and the Sangh Parivar for their political gains.

The state government defended its decision to protect the women as they went into the temple, saying it was a matter of civil rights. "Holy chants blare on speakers as the women hurry into the Sabarimala temple". "We expected the government to make the entry of women in Sabarimala a reality following the women's wall". She added that a few devotees had identified them while they were on their trek.

The entry of the two women into Sabarimala led to sporadic protests across the state on Wednesday.

September's verdict was the latest progressive ruling from the court, with judges also overturning bans on gay sex and adultery past year - posing a challenge to Modi's traditionalist BJP. Organisers of the "women's wall" protest - set up by India's left-wing coalition government - had predicted a turnout of three million.

Violent clashes were reported between scores of people in front of the state parliament in Thiruvananthapuram, while protests with sporadic violence were also reported in several other towns across the state.

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.

Saudi King Elevates Young Royals in Government Shake-Up
Turki Shabbaneh, who has held positions in privately owned Saudi TV channels, was named minister of media. King Salman didn't give any specific details about how Prince Salman would steer the new space agency.

In a statement, K. Sudhakaran, vice-president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, called the visit "treachery" and said "the government will have to pay the price for the violation of the custom".

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed the reports and said, "Yes, it's true, the women have had the temple darshan".

It came as protests broke out after two women secretly breached a blockade to enter the Hindu Sabarimala temple, which is a major pilgrimage site, in part of an ongoing row earlier on Wednesday.

The BJP's leader in Kerala described the women's visit as "a conspiracy by the atheist rulers to destroy the Hindu temples", vowing to "support the struggles against the destruction of faith by the Communists".

Ammini later told a local television channel about their stealthy trek to the temple in the middle of the night.

Women are still barred from a handful of Hindu temples in India. The devotees have already demanded the resignation of Vijayan.

Legend says that the goddess Malikapurathamma asked Ayyappa to marry her.

"The historic moment, caught on video, shows two women with their heads covered", reports NPR's Sushmita Pathak. "The chief minister is responsible for this", Ramesh said.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.