As Attukal Pongala celebrations are underway in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, around 3,861 women employees of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) who were abruptly laid off are participating in the festival hoping for the state government to address their complaints.
The women prepared a ritualistic offering for Attukal Devi in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvanathapuram where they have been protesting for nearly a month against their abrupt termination.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Sandhya, a woman employee who was terminated said the women have been protesting for 31 days, yet no relief has been granted by the state government.
"We were working on a meagre salary of Rs 480 per day, yet we did not complain. Two months ago, around 3,861 employees were terminated without any prior notice or reason,' she said.
"Only we know how we are making ends meet. We have been protesting here for 31 days now, yet our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Today, we are participating in this festival, pleading to the almighty for our pleas to be heard by the government," she added.
Attukal Pongala is a 10-day festival celebrated at the Attukal Temple during which there is a huge gathering of millions of women on the ninth day. Women prepare divine food made of rice, jaggery and banana in earthen pots and offer it to the Goddess of the Temple - Attukal Devi. Attukal temple is also popularly kown as women's Sabarimala - where only women are allowed to take part in the rituals.
In 2009, the festival found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest gathering of women (2.5 million).
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