Women form human chain in protest over Indian temple's ban on females

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

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

Protesters in Kochi set an effigy of Kerala state chief, Pinarayi Vijayan, on fire claiming he was fault for encouraging women and girls to visit the Sabarimala hill shrine.

It was not immediately clear how the two women managed to evade the traditionalists early on Wednesday. They may have entered the shrine today because they would not have faced any issues.

The two women had tried to climb up to Sabarimala in the last week of December, but had been blocked by massive protests. A video from a police official posted online showed them in the temple with their heads covered.

Two women secretly entered the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday, breaching a blockade formed around the site by devotees who have been enraged by an Indian Supreme Court decision to overturn a ban on women aged between 10 and 50.

Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanaka Durga, 44 entered the shrine around dawn.

'We did not enter the shrine by climbing the 18 holy steps but went through the staff gate, ' one of the women, who both remain under police guard, later told reporters.

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.

Protests erupted in cities throughout Kerala later Wednesday, and Reuters reports police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a crowd of protesters in the state's capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

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The Samiti, which is spearheading protests against the Supreme Court's September 28 verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine, urged people to cooperate with them in their protest.

When Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran appealed to women in the age group of 10 and 50 not to attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple during the current pilgrim season, the right-wing outfits believed that at least the government and the police will stop aiding women from the barred age group in entering the temple.

Two Indian women have made history by entering a prominent Hindu shrine in the southern state of Kerala, following months of protests against their entry. The fact that the chief priest did not take the permission of the Travancore Devaswom Board (which administers the temple) or the state cabinet before conducting the rituals raised the urgency of the matter.

What happened when women finally entered the temple?

.

Health Minister KK Shylaja and Brinda Karat, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association, held either end of the human wall in Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram respectively, reported The Hindu.

Many Hindu groups as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party fiercely oppose the court ruling. According to a Times of India report, the women didn't face any opposition from other devotees and the police gave all assurances and support for their darshan.

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

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