Protests erupt after two women make landmark step in Indian temple

Protests erupt after two women make landmark step in Indian temple

Protests erupt after two women make landmark step in Indian temple

Two women devotees, below the age of 50 years, entered the Sabarimala temple on early Wednesday morning.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. Several officers were reportedly injured.

But India's Supreme Court lifted the ban in September, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. 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.

Police officials said they were preparing for more demonstrations on Thursday because several political and Hindu groups have called for a strike to protest the women's entry.

"We walked two hours, entered the temple around 3.30 a.m. and did the darshan", the woman said, referring to a Hindu religious ritual of looking at an image of a deity.

Sabarimala reopened after around an hour.

Clashes were reported between scores of people in front of the state parliament in Thiruvananthapuram. Police could also be seen charging at protesters who were trying to enforce a shutdown of shops in the area.

Rahul Easwar, a right-wing activist in Kerala, condemned the state authorities for helping organise the secret operation.

"We did the trek to the shrine just like any other devotees", said Hariharan in remarks released to reporters.

Modi said there were temples where men were barred from entering.

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After the duo released a video of their visit, CM Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the devotees prayed at the temple.

The women's actions provoked the ire of angry demonstrators who believed they were defiling the temple's shrine.

On the same day, thousands of women took part in the state-wide protest by forming a 620 kilometer (385 mile) human chain, termed the "women's wall", calling for gender equality and access to the Ayyappa temple. Bindu said that they would trek to the temple since the cops had promised to escort them to the Sannidhanam.

The Supreme Court is to hear challenges to its landmark ruling from January 22.

On Tuesday, millions of women in Kerala joined hands to form a human link that stretched more than 600 kilometers. Kerala government was in urgency to implement the Supreme Court's order and were adamant to send women inside the temple. "Lots of women have been visiting the temple after the verdict". He said that the women had gone to Sabarimala with the help of CPM leaders. For the first time in the history the temple has been closed due to the breaking of tradition.

The reason for Ayyappa's refusal is because of his celibacy - one of the arguments against allowing women of menstruating age to enter. Their entry at Sabarimala was taboo for generations and formalised by the Kerala High Court in 1991.

The head of the BJP party in Kerala, P.S Sreedharan Pillai, slammed the women's visit as a "conspiracy by the atheist rulers to destroy the Hindu temples".

It was one of a string of recent decisions to have eaten away at some of India's traditions, including outlawing bans on gay sex and adultery past year.

Protests erupted across the state soon after news of the women trekking to the hill shrine spread.

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