Women who defied Indian temple ban unable to return home - Whisper Eye

Women who defied Indian temple ban unable to return home

Two women who made history by becoming the first in centuries to enter a hill temple in southern India are in hiding after threats by hardline Hindu groups.

The Sabarimala temple in the state of Kerala has been the site of tension since India’s Supreme Court ruled in late September to end a ban on women of menstruating age entering it.

There have since been sporadic outbreaks of violence between the authorities and protesters attempting to prevent women from entering, setting off a cultural battle in what is still a deeply religious country.

Bindu Ammini, 40, a law lecturer at Kerala’s Kannur University and Kanakadurga, 39, a civil servant, told Reuters they were determined to enter despite threats of violence.

“A lot of people tried to dissuade us and make us turn back – police officers, our friends… because they knew we were facing a lot of backlash,” Kanakadurga said.

After the Supreme Court’s judgment, the women made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the temple on Dec. 24, before finally succeeding on Jan. 2.

A third woman aged 46 has since entered the site, the office of the chief minister of Kerala said on Jan. 4.

“We felt no fear. We had only one aim: we wanted to go to that shrine,” Bindu said.

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