BJP protests in Kerala after 2 women entered Sabarimala Temple

Vanitha Mathil Women's Wall Womens wall

The morning after this mobilisation, two women who were under the age of 50, successfully entered the Sabarimala and made history, though not without backlash.

Despite the ruling, demonstrators including Hindu priests and conservatives continued to block women of menstruating age from entering the centuries-old temple.

She said they wore the attire meant for women for Ayyappa darshan.

"It is a fact that the women entered the shrine".

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of women formed a human chain across Kerala to back the demand for access to the temple.

In rare comments regarding the Sabarimala temple on Tuesday, Modi - running for a second term in elections later this year - appeared to support the ban, saying the matter was related to tradition. The temple was later shut down for ritual purification for one and a half hours before reopening.

Protests across the state have since erupted and police have fired tear gas to disperse crowds.

Local media reports suggested some in the chain were heckled and stoned by right-wing activists.

Before Bindu and Kanakadugra stepped into Sabarimala, there have been stories of privileged women being permitted to enter the shrine. The 620km human chain, multicolored from the women's dresses, could be one of the largest in the world. "We have to reject these ideas", she added. Some protesters can also be seen at the spot in the video. According to reports, the devotee protests were fanned by the BJP.

Ms Ammini said they did not climb the steps because it was very crowded and they feared they might be attacked. Their presence was not met with protests or resistance, police told the BBC. Over 700 women had registered their names with the police seeking protection during their trek to the temple when the temple re-opened. The demand that women be allowed in Sabarimala isn't unanimous, but what Monday's event proved was that the demand that women be banned isn't unanimous either.

Menstruation is rarely discussed openly in India and menstrual blood is considered impure by many communities.

The Sabarimala Karma Samiti has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala on Thursday following entry of two women into the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala on Wednesday.

The Sabarimala temple is devoted to the deity Lord Ayappa, who according to legend was born from a union between two male gods.

Last year, violent protests broke out in the state after India's top court in September ordered the authorities to lift the ban on women or girls of menstruating age from entering the temple, which draws millions of worshippers a year. Police have clashed with devotees supporting the ban and have arrested more than 2,000 people.

State BJP chief P S Sreedharan Pillai said the Kerala government will face the "wrath" of Lord Ayyappa.

India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has pursued a Hindu nationalist agenda, has painted the September court ruling as an attack on traditional Hindu values.

The issue has become increasingly contentious in the run-up to India's general election, scheduled for April and May.

Many Hindu groups and BJP oppose the ruling.

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