- One of the women claimed she has been getting death threats
- They were stopped by protesters 1 km after they crossed Pamba base camp
- The women, who had refused to return, were taken to safety by police
Massive protests broke out near the Sabarimala temple in Kerala this morning after two women tried to trek up to the hill shrine. The women were surrounded by a large number of protesters around 1 km after they crossed the base camp. The women were taken to safety by the police in a vehicle. They had earlier refused to return without offering prayers, saying they followed the 41-day penance.
The two women are part of a nine-member group who were on their way to the temple. The group was stopped after they crossed the Pamba base camp.
One of the women, Reshma Nishant, claimed she has been getting death threats ever since she began her penance. "If they're trying to scare me away, I am definitely not ready to go back," she told reporters. "There is Ayyappan there. Ayyappan has no objection to women entering the temple. Why are these people protesting then?" she said.
Activist Rahul Easwaran tweeted, backing the protesters who stopped the women who tried to "intrude into #Sabarimala".
1 more Victory for #Hindu Resistance— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) January 16, 2019
Huge protests erupt for #SaveSabarimala ..
some leftists with 2 young women tried to intrude into #Sabarimala
Devotees from different states spontaneously gather and resist the young women, leftist group and police
Young women returned
On Monday, Kanaka Durga, one of the first women below 50 to enter the temple, was attacked at home allegedly by her mother-in-law. She had entered her home after nearly two weeks in hiding because of threats by right-wing protesters. She alleged that her mother-in-law came at her with a wooden stick and beat her until she could barely stand. Then she was thrown out.
Kanaka Durga, along with 40-year-old Bindu Ammini, are the first women below 50 in decades to enter the hilltop shrine. For nearly two weeks, they stayed in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kochi, under state protection.
The temple has been the site of tension since the Supreme Court ruled in September last year to end the age restriction on women. The court order has not been accepted by the devotees and protesters who believe women should not be allowed near the shrine's deity, Lord Ayyappa. Since the court order, attempts by women to visit the shrine were blocked by thousands of protesters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Kerala on Monday, attacked the Left government in the state over the handling of the Sabarimala temple issue. "The CPM government's conduct on Sabarimala will go down in history as the most shameful action of any government in power... We know CPM government never respected spirituality, religion... but no one thought it would turn so shameful," PM Modi said in Kollam. The CPM hit back with a tweet, calling PM Modi's comments "shameful". "(PM) Modi should read the Indian constitution which he is sworn to uphold rather than Manusmriti or RSS oath!" the party tweeted from its official handle.
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