Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Women form 620km line across Kerala over temple access

Women form 620km line across Kerala over temple access

According to 24 News, Bindu revealed that they reached Pampa valley at around 1 am. They asserted that protests will be scaled up till Vijayan is unseated. Over a dozen women made unsuccessful bids to offer prayers.

A senior temple official told the BBC that the sanctum has now reopened. The policemen who had escorted them took them back by force.

"We did not enter the shrine by climbing the 18 holy steps but went through the staff gate", one of the women later told reporters. They believe that the right-wing activists may have dropped guard after the Devaswom minister's appeal.

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

"The genuine believers are not concerned about the entry of women in Sabarimala. This can not be allowed", the activist said.

The Kerala Police said it was looking into media reports that two women in their forties had entered the Sabarimala temple early Wednesday, sources said.

The development came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented on the Sabarimala controversy in a rare interview, calling the issue a matter of "beliefs".

"If there is a divine intervention, definitely, the verdict will be in favour of us", Nair added.

He said, " Today, two women entered #SabarimalaTemple.

The verdict set off intense protests by religious conservatives and Hindu nationalists.

News of the visit triggered protests in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, where police fired teargas and used water cannons to disperse a large crowd of demonstrators. Police also resorted to lathi charge in Palakkad after the protests turned violent. It was closed for an hour in order to perform "purification rituals" but has now re-opened.

"This is treachery.The government will have to pay the price for the violation of the custom", K. Sudhakaran, vice-president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, said in a statement. Police acted on behalf of chief minister's direction.

State BJP chief P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said the Kerala government will face the "wrath" of Lord Ayyappa. "This is a backdoor entry facilitated by the government as per a conspiracy".

Ayyappa devotee Sharath said, "We will support the protest against Pinarayi Vijayan on January 3". This can not be healed easily.

The two women in their 40s entered the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and offered prayers. "There was a tense atmosphere in Sabarimala", she said.

The two women are identified as Bindu from Kozhikode and Kanakadurga from Malappuram.

Reportedly, the police ensured that the women's trek was carried out in a discreet manner. Thousands of women could be seen raising hands and fists while forming the wall.

But the temple refused to abide by the court ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit it had been blocked by thousands of devotees supporting the ban.

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