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Protests erupt after two women make landmark step in Indian temple

05 January 2019
Protests erupt after two women make landmark step in Indian temple

"Overall, the situation is calm, especially around the Sabarimala temple where large number of devotees continue to visit", he said.

Conservative Hindu groups paralysed Kerala on Thursday, shutting businesses and halting transport with a protest strike against the left-wing Kerala state government, which has supported the right of women to enter the temple.

The restriction on women at Sabarimala, situated on top of a 915m hill in a tiger reserve that takes hours to climb, reflects a belief - not exclusive to Hinduism - that menstruating women are impure.

A third woman has worshipped at an Indian flashpoint temple in Kerala, police said on Friday, two days after the entry of two others for the first time since a landmark court ruling in September sparked violent protests. Most of the persons attacked were women.

Kochi: Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella organisation of various pro-Hindutva groups, and the BJP chose to intensify their agitation against the CPI (M)-led LDF government in Kerala over the women's entry into the Sabarimala temple.

On Thursday, Vijayan accused the BJP and the RSS of unleashing the violence as part of a "conspiracy for political gains" and said it would be dealt with strongly.

"We reached Pampa, the main entry point to the temple at 1.30am and sought police protection [.]". Many men stood near the women's wall and saluted their female counterparts in a sign of support for their plight and dignity.

The Communist Party of India, the ruling party in Kerala state, said about 5.5 million women took part.

Their 3:30am, police-accompanied entrance to the temple follows the New Year's Day action called the "Women's Wall"-a 385-mile (620-kilometer ) human chain".

Allow me to divert your attention from the U.S.'s controversial border wall proposal for a wall of a different sort: India's "women wall", a continuous chain of over five million women stretching almost 400 miles through the state of Kerala, India.

The Supreme Court is set to review a plea against the ruling on January 22.

Opponents of the ruling have argued that decisions made by the temple's religious leaders are protected by India's constitution. "The pictures of the Sri Lankan woman Sasikala being shown in the media are fake". But the position has drawn criticism from other political parties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who belongs to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposed letting women into the temple, saying that it was an issue of tradition, not gender equality.

Her husband told the media that they went only till Marakootam, a point which lies one km away from the sanctum.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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