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Shutdown Called in Kerala After Two Women Claimed To Have Entered in Sabarimala Temple

Since then, around three dozen women in that age group have tried but failed to go up the pathway leading to the temple due to protests

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Sabarimala
Protests as two women pray at Sabarimala, Kerala shutdown called.

Protests erupted across Kerala on Wednesday after two women in the hitherto banned age group entered the Sabarimala temple before dawn, with the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SMS) calling for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday.
The temple was shut for an hour to conduct “purification rituals” after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that Bindu and Kanaka Durga had ‘darshan’ at 3.30 a.m., having been stopped on December 24 by predominantly male pilgrims from entering the hill shrine.

The temple was reopened after an hour.

SKS activists vowed not to rest till Vijayan was ousted from office and called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Thursday.

Speaking to the media over telephone, Bindu said she and Durga reached the Pamba base camp around 1.30 a.m. and along with a few police officers in civilian clothes went up the pathway.

“The government had assured us all help… We, however, did not climb the hallowed 18 steps, instead went through the way normally used by VIPs,” said Bindu.

“We did not have any problems. Barring minor protests, there was no other issue.”

As the news spread, Sangh Parivar outfits took to the streets across Kerala blocking traffic, burning tyres on main roads and stoning buses.

sabarimala temple, facebook

In the state capital, the police used water canons and tear gas to disperse clashing CPI-M and Sangh Parivar activists.

Protests were also reported from Kochi, Palghat, Kozhikode and Kasargode.

Kerala’s biggest traders’ body, KVVES, announced it won’t shut shops on Thursday as frequent strikes were causing huge losses.

Once it became known that the two women had entered the temple, the chief priest and temple tantri met the Pandalam Royal family and decided to shut the shrine for “purification rituals”.

Women and girls in the age group of 10 to 50 are barred from praying at the Sabarimala temple. This ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in September.

Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan said the tantri had no right to close the temple.

“This is a challenge to the judiciary. The government only did its role in upholding the Supreme Court directive,” he told journalists.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala called for protests against the Left government. “Vijayan will have to pay a heavy price for this,” he said.

Another Congress leader, K. Sudhakaran, called Vijayan “a fascist” and said the two women who entered the temple were his “puppets”.

Sabarimala temple. Wikimedia Commons

State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said there was no reason to shut the temple.

“Those who should observe the temple rules are themselves violating it,” he said. “The role of the government is to abide by the Supreme Court order and it has done just that. The police did their job of providing security to the women.”

Nair Service Society’s General Secretary Sukumaran Nair thanked the temple priests for closing the temple for “purification rituals”.

State BJP General Secretary M.T. Ramesh thundered that Vijayan will have to pay “a heavy price” for violating the temple traditions.

“What they did was to act like cowards. In pitch darkness, they took the two women,” he said, adding that protests would be held in Kerala on Wednesday and Thursday.

BJP activists protested in front of Devasom (Temples) Minister Kadakampally Surendran when he came to attend a programme in Guruvayoor.

Also Read- ‘Black’ Banned in Jharkhand’s Palamau Ahead of Modi Visit

Similar protests took place when Health Minister K.K. Shailaja came for a function at her home district in Kannur.

The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple.

Since then, around three dozen women in that age group have tried but failed to go up the pathway leading to the temple due to protests. (IANS)

Next Story

Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

Supreme Court will pronounce its order on the ban on women's entry into Sabarimala Temple. Will it be another landmark judgement?

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Sabarimala Temple
The Sabarimala Temple Does Not Allow Entry Of Women As A Part Of Age Old Tradition. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 13, 2017: The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a ban on the entry of women in the age group 10-50 years in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of the Right to Equality under Article 14.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan also framed six questions to be addressed by the Constitution Bench.

The petition was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, challenging the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age).The custom had been termed as ‘discriminatory’ in their petition.

Sabarimala Temple
The Supreme Court will declare its decision on the long-existing ban on entry of women. Wikimedia

The Constitution Bench will deal with questions whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women. The apex court also framed a question on the violation of rights under the Constitution with regard to the entry of women into the temple.

The reason for the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years as stated by the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district was because they cannot maintain “purity” on account of menstruation.

With this verdict by Supreme Court, the long sustaining protest against the entry of women tends to put an end to the practice.

The temple, built in the 12th century, is located in Pathanamthitta district and is dedicated to Lord Ayappa.