Friday, 18 January, 2019

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple

Some 5 Million Indian Women Form Massive Human Chain for Gender Equality (PHOTO) A '620km human chain' — Indian Women Rally for Equality
Andrew Cummings | 02 January, 2019, 16:39

Two women below the age of 50 claimed on Wednesday that they entered the Sabarimala temple with police protection. The campaign was held on a 620 kilometre stretch to uphold gender equality and safeguard renaissance values against the frenzied protests barring implementation of SC verdict allowing women in all age groups pay obeisance at the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has confirmed that two women had darshan at Sabarimala temple.

The Vanitha Mathil was organised against the backdrop of the 28 September, 2018 Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala. The ban was informal for many years, but became law in 1972.

Sabarimala had previously been off-limits to women of menstrual age on religious grounds, with proponents of the ban arguing that since Ayyappa is considered celibate, allowing "impure" women into the shrine would be disrespectful.

CPI (M) polit bureau member Brinda Karat, who was the last member of the human wall at Thiruvananthapuram, said women in Kerala have scripted history by erecting a "human wall of resistance" against the dark forces.

The fight over women's right to enter the temple also comes in the lead-up to India's general election in April and May.

Two women devotees Bindu & Kanakdurga in their 40s entered & offered prayers at Kerala's #SabarimalaTemple at 3.45am today.

"We did not enter the shrine by climbing the 18 holy steps but went through the staff gate", one of the women, who both remain under police guard, later told reporters. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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On Tuesday, women from various walks of life - writers, athletes, actors, politicians and techies, government officials and homemakers - stood across the highways crisscrossing through the 14 districts in the state as the event commenced at 4 pm.

India's top court overturned the ban in September, but protesters have since attacked female visitors. They are the first women to do so in several decades. She does not see menstruating as defiling or women as unclean.

These two women have protected India's constitutional rights and smashed the walls of patriarchy. "We will start strong agitation against the women's entry again", S J R Kumar told PTI.

Local media said the temple was shut down for cleansing rituals after the women entered the premises.

They made efforts to enter the shrine in December but had to return due to protests.

The women's entry into the temple is certain to provoke a new gender storm.

The Sabarimala temple is devoted to the deity Lord Ayappa, who according to legend was born from a union between two male gods.

November 16: An evening before the temple's re-opening, Hindu Aikyavedi state President K P Sasikala, 50, was taken into preventive custody near Marakootam at 2.30 am after she allegedly defied orders not to spend the night in the temple complex, according to the police.

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