A controversy erupted in Kerala after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Sunday backed out of a program organised in Kochi to "celebrate menstruation" in a bid to end the stigma associated with the biological process.
The two-day program titled ''Aarpo Aarthavam'' (Hurray menses) was organised by some activist groups in response to widespread protests in the state by right-wing outfits over the implementation of a Supreme Court verdict, permitting the entry of women in the menstruating age groups into Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.
The organisers had informed the media that Mr Vijayan, who had organised "Women's Wall" program on women empowerment on January 1, would participate in the program Sunday to be attended by cultural icons of the Left.
However, government sources said the chief minister had not consented to attend the function.
Citing the schedule of the Chief Minister prepared by his office, the sources said Mr Vijayan had four back-to-back programs in Kochi on Sunday, but the ''Aarpo Aarthavam'' function was not on the list.
Meanwhile, sources claimed that the presence of people with extreme Leftist views in the program might have forced the Kerala chief minister to skip the function.
The program, which began Saturday, aimed at ending the stigma around menstruation that is still considered taboo by a significant section of Kerala society.
"Kabali" director Pa Ranjith spoke at the event on Saturday.
Over 35 lakh women from various walks of life had participated in the 620 km-long state-sponsored "Women's Wall" campaign stretching from the northern tip of Kasaragod to the southern end of the state on January 1 to uphold gender equality and renaissance values.