Clashes break out after two women enter Indian temple

Clashes break out after two women enter Indian temple

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.

Police with batons also charged at protesters who were trying to enforce a shutdown of shops in the area. The police spokesperson said demonstrators blocked several roads and threw rocks at officers. Per the BBC, protesters have since attacked women who've attempted to enter the temple. The shrine was shut down for the ritual 10.30 am and was opened after almost one hour, sources said. [.] It's clear that the women were under police protection.

According to reports, Bindu said that the Kerala Police helped them to have their darshan in their second journey.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the entry of the women into the shrine "hurt" the sentiments of devotees and it shows the headstrong attitude of the chief minister to take women of the traditionally "barred" age group to the temple.

Bindu Ammini (42) and Kankadurga (44) have thus become the first women to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on menstruating women from entering the temple on 28 September, 2018. Some Hindus consider menstruating women to be impure.

The development comes hours after lakhs of women in Kerala stood should-to-shoulder across the national highways, creating a 620 km-long human "wall" from the northern end of Kasaragod to the southern tip here on Tuesday as part of a state-sponsored initiative to uphold gender equality. A report said the temple opened in the afternoon after completion of the ritual.

After this period many devotees, wearing ritual bead necklaces, walk barefoot for dozens of kilometres including, and especially, the final steep climb.

The sacred offerings, tied in a cloth usually carried on the head or shoulders, include coconuts, rose water, rice and pepper. He said he would only do so if first-time devotees decide not to visit him - which has never happened.

The reason for Ayyappa's refusal is because of his celibacy - one of the arguments against allowing women of menstruating age to enter.

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.

Women can however access most other Hindu temples in India.

The Kerala state government is run by left-wing parties and it has sought to allow women into the temple - a position that has drawn the criticism of both of India's main political parties, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The 'Women's Wall' rally was backed by the communist government in Kerala state where the court order on Sabarimala temple has triggered weeks of protests by opponents and supporters of the ban.

Indira Jaising, a lawyer who argued against the ban before India's Supreme Court, said that Wednesday's visit marked "a historic moment".

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