Kochi/New Delhi: Two women who made history by becoming the first in centuries to enter the Sabarimala hill temple in Kerala are in hiding after threats by hard-line Hindu groups. The temple has been the site of tension since the Supreme Court ruled in late September to end a ban on women of menstruating age entering it.
There have since been sporadic outbreaks of violence between the authorities and protesters attempting to prevent women from entering, setting off a cultural battle.
Bindu Ammini (40), a law lecturer at Kerala’s Kannur University and Kanakadurga (39), a civil servant, told Reuters they were determined to enter despite threats of violence. “A lot of people tried to dissuade us and make us turn back — police officers, our friends — because they knew we were facing a lot of backlash,” Kanakadurga said.
After the Supreme Court’s judgment, the women made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the temple on 24 December, before finally succeeding on 2 January. A third woman aged 46 has since entered the site, the office of the chief minister of Kerala said on 4 January.
“We felt no fear. We had only one aim: We wanted to go to that shrine,” Bindu said. Their entry sparked widespread protests and a day-long strike in Kerala led in part by members of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “This BJP government has a duty to regulate and control their members,” Bindu said.
The women — speaking in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kochi — say they have since faced threats from protesters, but that they trusted the authorities to keep them safe and plan to return home next week. “I always say that I trust the police personnel, the state government of Kerala and also our democratic society of Kerala,” Bindu said.
Updated Date: Jan 11, 2019 09:06:27 IST