Protestors flock as this Indian temple finally opens its gate to women

Protestors flock as this Indian temple finally opens its gate to women

  • The Supreme Court’s verdict to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala Temple came into effect today.
  • During the past week, protestors and the local tribal community have flocked to the shrine in order to protest the verdict and prevent women from entering.
  • While the law was passed to propagate equality, the locals cite that it’s encroaching their religious freedom.
The Sabarimala temple finally opened its doors to women today but they’re are being turned around before they can even reach the gates. The verdict passed by the Supreme Court last month allowed women of all ages to worship Lord Ayyappa's shrine citing Article 14, that everyone should be equal before the law.

But the matter at hand seems to be pivoting from equality between genders to religious freedoms and tribal rights. On the ground, the local tribal community along with their supporters have been gathering to protest.

So far, women have been turned out at the base of the hill where the temple is located and stones have been pelted at cars approaching with women on board.

Even the women police that’s been deployed in the area are facing backlash for doing their duty.

What seems to be the problem?

The Sabarimala temple is the pivotal place of worship for the tribal community living in the Attathodu area where the shrine is located. According to the chief of the tribal community in the region, VK Narayanan, the issue is that the restrictions that have been placed on women of a certain age as a part of their customs.

He added that considering menstruating women ‘impure’ is a Dravidian custom.

Even before Wednesday, many organisations were citing disruption and ‘mass suicides’ as a likely outcome if women of menstrual age are allowed to enter the shrine.

This isn’t the first time that India has had to face a crisis of conscience where the choice is between bringing about equality or upholding tradition. Triple Talaq, up until recently, was legal in India. Having been cited as ‘unconstitutional’ it was abolished in 2017 highlighting that such a tradition was not integral to religious practice.

(Image source: IANS)