Women form human chain in Mumbai to support Kerala 'Women's Wall'

Vanitha Mathil Women's Wall Womens wall

September's verdict was the latest progressive ruling from the court, with judges also overturning bans on gay sex and adultery a year ago - posing a challenge to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's traditionalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

After the formation of the protest, two women entered the temple for the first time following the lifting of the ban by the Supreme Court in September 2018. The media persons were ruffed up and cameras damaged by protesters at the state capital.

Despite the ruling, demonstrators including Hindu priests and conservatives continued to block women of menstruating age from entering the centuries-old temple.

The restriction on women at Sabarimala, situated on top of a 3,000-foot (915-metre) hill in a tiger reserve that takes hours to climb, reflects a belief - not exclusive to Hinduism - that menstruating women are impure. It had been forbidden to females between the ages of 10 and 50.

A local police spokesperson said officers walked with the two women Wednesday to provide protection during their visit.

Media reports said the women entered the hilltop temple just before dawn with police security.

The Sabarimala temple historically barred women and girls aged 10 to 50 from entering, since a state court ruling in 1991.

Protests broke out in several places in Kerala state after the women entered the temple. A cop was injured in stone pelting. Police used stun grenades, tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the protesters. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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The leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the entry of the women into the shrine "hurt" the sentiments of devotees.

This is a conspiracy hatched by the atheist rulers to destroy the Hindu temples.

"We gathered to express solidarity for gender equality and what our sisters were doing in Kerala".

A local official from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party called for protests.

Indian women stand in a line to take part in a "women's wall" protest in Kochi in southern Kerala state on January 1, 2019.

Extending support to the campaign, women from several organisations and social activists came together to form a almost one km-long human chain from Dadar Chowpatty to Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Tuesday evening.

The Supreme Court had refused to stay its verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the shrine, but agreed to hear in open court on January 22 a batch of review petitions in the matter. They also note that women of all ages can worship at other Hindu temples.

The two women's entry into the Sabarimala temple came a day after a women's wall was erected from the northern district to the southern district of the state at the initiative of the Left Democratic Front government with the avowed objective of ensuring gender equality and protecting the renaissance values. They urged the government, political parties, other organisations and public to cooperate for the smooth functioning of the tourism sector.

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