Ayyappa Swami association condemns women's entry into Sabarimala temple

Ayyappa Swami association condemns women's entry into Sabarimala temple

Ayyappa Swami association condemns women's entry into Sabarimala temple

In September, India's Supreme Court ruled that the ban violated women's right to equality and the right to worship.

Opposition Congress and the BJP on Wednesday lashed out at the CPI (M)-led LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after two women in their 40s entered the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

"Watching the visuals of them making their way into the shrine makes me cry in joy - how long it has taken for us to claim space, to write our way into history", wrote feminist author Meena Kandasamy on Twitter.

The two women had tried and failed to enter the temple on December 24, and later approached police for help, an officer said.

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

According to India's News Minute, "In what is being seen as a defining moment for feminist politics in Kerala, leaders and members from political parties, socio-political organizations, and progressive Hindu organizations, too, joined the event".

"We gathered to express solidarity for gender equality and what our sisters were doing in Kerala. We walked two hours, entered the temple around 3.30am and did the darshan", the woman said, referring to a ritual of standing in front of the temple's Hindu image.

Hindus chant devotional songs during a protest against reports of two women of menstruating age entering the Sabarimala temple, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. Protesters blocked several roads and threw stones at law enforcement officials, sparking clashes, said Kumar, adding that police fired tear gas to quell the violence.

The religious conflict has been fueling a political standoff between the far-left parties ruling Kerala and the right-wing nationalist BJP which holds power at the federal level.

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

In a statement, K. Sudhakaran, vice-president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, called the visit "treachery" and said "the government will have to pay the price for the violation of the custom".

The restriction on women at Sabarimala, situated on top of a 915m hill in a tiger reserve that takes hours to climb, reflects a belief - not exclusive to Hinduism - that menstruating women are impure.

The party's state president, P.S Sreedharan Pillai, told TV channels the BJP would "support the struggles against the destruction of faith by the Communists".

In rare comments regarding the Sabarimala temple on Tuesday, Modi - running for a second term in elections later this year - appeared to support the ban, saying the matter was related to tradition. "There was a tense atmosphere in Sabarimala", she said. Bindu hails from Kozhikode, while Kanakadurga is from Malappuram district in Kerala. Groups of women had been prevented from entering since the court decision was reached by massive crowds of male pilgrims who barred the way. "Lots of women have been visiting the temple after the verdict. And men don't go", Modi told Indian media.

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