Women form human chain in Mumbai to support Kerala 'Women's Wall'

03 January, 2019, 00:12 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Some 5 Million Indian Women Form Massive Human Chain for Gender Equality (PHOTO)

Almost three months after the Supreme Court verdict opened the gates of women of all ages at Sabarimala, two women, escorted by police officials in plain clothes, offered prayers at the temple. The country's Supreme Court ordered the temple to lift the ban a year ago, but no woman below 50 had been able to get in, until today.

Bindu also said that they did not ascend the 18 holy steps but got their darshan through the VIP lounge.

The move came amid the Indian Supreme Court's verdict issued at the end of September, and that put an end to the centuries-old tradition of only allowing men into the temple, pointing out that the practice violated women's constitutional rights. They said they were accompanied by a group of police personnel in civil uniform.

Vijayan said in a televised news conference that the two women, who had previously tried but failed to enter the temple because their way was blocked by devotees, faced no obstruction on Wednesday.

Media reports and supporters of the initiative claimed hundreds of thousands of women formed a human chain across the 620km (380-mile) length of the state.

Protests erupted in cities throughout Kerala later Wednesday, and Reuters reports police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a crowd of protesters in the state's capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

Women protest a Supreme Court of India verdict allowing the entry of women into Sabarimala temple, December 26, 2018 in Thiruvanathapuram, India. Sabarimala temple was closed soon on the orders of the temple head priest.

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Two women devotees, below the age of 50 years, entered the Sabarimala temple on early Wednesday morning. [.] It's clear that the women were under police protection.

A spokesperson for the Opposition Congress party, K Sudhakaran, described the two women entering the temple as "treachery" and that the left-wing state government "will have to pay the price for the violation of the custom". "It is to be done openly, everybody should accept, that's our view", CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said. The controversy over Sabarimala is not the first time the entry of women in religious spaces has sparked debate in India.

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

The event dominated the conversation on social media, where users kept sharing powerful images of women standing up for their rights.

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.

But India's ruling party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has argued that the ruling is an attack on Hindu values.



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