Hold Sabarimala chief priest for contempt of court: Kerala’s writers and intellectuals

03 January, 2019, 00:09 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Vanitha Mathil Women's Wall Womens wall

The temple, which attracts millions of Hindu pilgrims each year, is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, "a Hindu god who devotees believe is celibate and can not have contact with women of menstruating age", writes NPR's Lauren Frayer.

"The Supreme Court has passed the verdict that women of all age groups can enter the temple".

A video posted by news agency ANI shows the two women wearing black dresses and hurrying towards the shrine.

The BJP condemned the Supreme Court verdict allowing women to enter the Sabarimala shrine, saying it attacked religious values.

The police sources in Thiruvananthapuram, quoting DGP Loknath Behara, said details were being collected on the issue.

The Sabarimala temple historically barred women and girls aged 10 to 50 from entering, since a state court ruling in 1991.

On Tuesday, millions of women formed a human chain more than 375 miles long from Kasargod in the northern part of the state to Thiruvananthapuram, the southernmost city and the state capital, to support gender equality. Officers escorted the two women to the hilltop temple because of "police responsibility to provide protection to any devotee irrespective of gender", Kumar said.

Media reports and supporters of the initiative claimed hundreds of thousands of women formed a human chain across the 620-kilometre (380-mile) length of the state. Protesters also clashed with police and some were later detained.

An umbrella organisation of various pro-Hindutva groups has called for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday, amid protests at several places after entry of two women into the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.

Very few women have tried to enter the temple amid massive protests in the state, and many who tried have been forced to turn back. The duo sneaked into the temple with the help of the police on the small hours of Wednesday.

Protests turned violent across the Indian state of Kerala on Wednesday, Jan. 2, after two women defied a centuries-old ban and entered a Hindu temple. The fact that the chief priest did not take the permission of the Travancore Devaswom Board (which administers the temple) or the state cabinet before conducting the rituals raised the urgency of the matter.

Why are women of a certain age not allowed to enter Sabarimala?

An official from India's ruling party, the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), called for a counter-protest.

In September, India's Supreme Court ruled that the ban violated women's right to equality and the right to worship. Some Hindu communities regard menstruating women as unclean.

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

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