Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

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

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

Despite the ruling, demonstrators including Hindu priests and conservatives continued to block women of menstruating age from entering the centuries-old temple.

A police officer said forced closure of shops, and minor incidents of violence between traders and BJP supports were tricking in from different parts of the State and Thiruvananthapuram district.

Two women secretly entered the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday, breaching a blockade formed around the site by devotees who have been enraged by an Indian Supreme Court decision to overturn a ban on women aged between 10 and 50.

The women - Kanakadurga (44) and Bindu (42) - wearing the traditional black dress with their heads covered, climbed the hill shrine at 3.38 am Wednesday.

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. The women - protected by police - entered Sabarimala around 3am local time on Wednesday.

Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon as protests and clashes between rival groups erupted across the southern state of Kerala, local media reported.

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.

Some religious figures consider menstruating women to be impure.

In September, the Supreme Court lifted the ban - which became law in 1972 - on women worshipping at Sabarimala temple in Kerala state.

"We reached Pampa, the main entry point to the temple at 1.30 a.m. and sought police protection to enter the temple". Bindu said that they would trek to the temple since the cops had promised to escort them to the Sannidhanam.

It is considered the spiritual home of Lord Ayyappa, a Hindu god of growth.

"This is a massive victory for the women of India". Noted activist G Mallika viewed this as a clear indication that the trouble in Sabarimala was created by right-wing activists who entered the hillock disguised as devotees.

NSS, which has filed a review plea in the Supreme Court challenging its verdict, expressed hope that the top court would take a favourable decision.

An estimated one million Hindu pilgrims travel to the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala annually.

In recent weeks Hindu traditionalists - backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - have prevented attempts by women to access the hilltop site, with some hardliners turning violent.

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