A 39-year-old woman who had entered the Ayyappa shrine at Kerala's Sabarimala in defiance of religious customs and was thrown out by her in-laws for it, returned home after a local court said that she should be allowed to stay at her husband's home.
An interim order was issued by a local court in north Kerala's Malappuram on Tuesday after Kanaka Durga's petition saying that she had the right to stay at her husband's home.
Kanaka Durga had filed a complaint with the district officials after her in-laws locked her out of the house last month. She had to move to a government shelter under police protection.
"I'm happy that I managed to enter the house with a court order. The children are not with me. I hope they will be with me the next time. I don't have any issues with sharing this house with my in-laws, but they have moved out because they have an issue. All these issues will be sorted in the long run," Kanaka Durga told reporters.
The local court will hear the case next on March 11.
Kanaka Durga and another woman, 40-year-old Bindu Ammini, were the first ones of menstrual age to enter the famous hilltop shrine in decades. After their achievement, both were forced to stay in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kochi under state protection for fear of reprisals from right-wing activists. However, when Kanaka Durga returned home on the morning of January 15, her mother-in-law allegedly came at her with a stick and beat her until she could barely stand.
The Supreme Court later instructed Kerala Police to ensure that both Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini were provided round-the-clock security.
Sabarimala has been the subject of intense controversy since September 28 last year, when the Supreme Court junked an age-old ban on women between 10 and 50 years entering the hill shrine. While right-wing activists maintained that courts do not have jurisdiction over religious beliefs, the Kerala government vowed to uphold the verdict.
The Supreme Court will today hear a batch of petitions challenging the September verdict.
(With inputs from PTI)