Indian police fire tear gas at protesters after women enter temple

03 January, 2019, 00:11 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Some 5 Million Indian Women Form Massive Human Chain for Gender Equality (PHOTO)

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

Malappuram resident Kanakadurga, 46, and Kozhikode local Bindu said that they began climbing the steps to Lord Ayyappa shrine around midnight and reached the temple at 3:45 am for darshan. The duo claimed that Kerala police had ensured their security en route to Sabarimala on Wednesday.

The "Women's Wall" rally on Tuesday was backed by the communist government in Kerala where the court order reversing a ban on women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50 - at Sabarimala temple has triggered weeks of protests. A video posted by news agency ANI shows two women wearing black dresses and hurrying towards the shrine.

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.

Yesterday, there was more trouble when tens of thousands of women formed a human chain across Kerala state to back the demand for women's access to the temple.

The police intervened and tried to provide women with safe passage to the shrine, resulting in clashes.

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

Two women braved a centuries-old ban on entering a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kerala on Wednesday, sparking protests by conservative Hindu groups outraged by their visit.

The temple head ordered the shrine closed for a purification ritual after news of the women's entry spread.

Women are still barred from a handful of Hindu temples in India.

The scene, however, was completely different when they made their first attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple on 24 December with the help of a team of 50 police personnel in uniform.

Health Minister KK Shylaja and Brinda Karat, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association, held either end of the human wall in Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram respectively, reported The Hindu.

What happened when women finally entered the temple?


Policemen outside the Sabarimala temple.

It contains a shrine to Lord Ayyappa, believed to have been the Earth-born son of two of Hinduism's three main gods, Vishnu (in his female avatar) and Shiva.

The incident prompted officials from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to call for protests.

In September, India's Supreme Court ruled that the ban violated women's right to equality and the right to worship.



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