Indian Protesters Block Women from Entering Hindu Temple
23 December 2018, 16:27
A group of 11 women tried to worship at a Hindu temple in southern India Sunday morning but were barred by protesters, VOA news reports.
They were stopped by hundreds of devotees, including other women, who object to the group entering the place of worship in Kerala state, even though the Indian Supreme Court has ruled that women of childbearing age can enter the shrine.
Women have been traditionally banned from entering Sabarimala, one of the Hindu religion’s holiest temples.
In September, however, the Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, overturned the longstanding ban on women aged 10 to 50 from entering the temple.
The police are trying to negotiate a solution in their talks with the women and the devotees who oppose the women entering the shrine.
Selvi, who uses only one name and is a leader of the women’s group, said “The women are adamant they won’t withdraw until they have seen the deity at the Sabarimala temple.”
Some Hindu adherents argue that the court ruling ignores their belief that the deity Ayyappa was reputed to have been celibate.
“If these women were actual devotees, they would not have been so blatant in their utter disregard for the age-old traditions and customs of Sabarimala,” Sasikumar Varma, from the region’s Pandalam Royal Family, told the French news agency (AFP).
“They just want to create trouble for genuine devotees,” Varma said.
The Supreme Court is scheduled in January to hear challenges to its ruling.