Women's group protest in Parliament against 'purification' rite by Sabarimala priest
A group of human rights activist protested outside the Parliament House complex on Friday to express their strong objection to the "purification" rituals carried out by priests at Kerala's Sabarimala temple after two women of menstruating age entered it on Wednesday.
All India Democratic Women's Association, Students' Federation of India and Democratic Youth Federation of India assembled on Rafi Marg and marched towards Parliament, according to a joint statement. They were holding the protest to express their objection to the purification rituals carried out by priests at the Sabarimala temple after two women entered it, it said. The women had stepped into the temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition and defying threats from the Hindu right.
Kanakadurga, 44, and Bindu, 42, had entered the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the Supreme Court's historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its "eternally celibate" deity.
Following the entry of the women, the chief priest had decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to perform the "purification" ceremony. The protesters strongly condemned the attempts of right-wing groups to create a communal frenzy and subvert the implementation of the orders of the Supreme Court in the Sabarimala case. Despite the apex court's ruling on September 28 last year, no children or young women in the 'barred' age group were able to offer prayers at the shrine because of frenzied protests by devotees and right-wing outfits.
(With inputs from agencies.)