Sunday, January 20, 2019 | ePaper

Hindu hardliners step up campaign to block Indian temple to women

  • Print


Indian police beat a Hindu activist in protests over women's access to a Hindu temple in Kerala.

AFP :
Hindu hardliners blocked intersections, threatened drivers and ordered a 12-hour strike on Thursday as they stepped up their campaign to bar women from one of India's holiest temples.
The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in the southern state of Kerala was meant to allow women from Wednesday following an order last month by India's highest court.
But hundreds of traditionalists, throwing stones at baton-wielding police, defied the order-surrounding and  shouting at any woman attempting to make it to the hilltop site.
Angry young men also surrounded and smashed the car windows of female television reporters and threatened others, including an AFP reporter. Another female correspondent was kicked.
Overnight local Hindu groups declared a 12-hour shutdown of local businesses, telling drivers that their vehicles would be attacked if they took anyone towards the temple.

"Some men came to the parking lot early Thursday and warned taxi drivers against defying the shutdown call," taxi driver Praveen, in the town of Pathanamthitta, told AFP. "They warned drivers at several nearby parking lots and hotels. Anyone who defies it will be risking damage to his vehicle," he added in an account corroborated by other drivers.
"No one will get to the temple today because all the drivers are scared for the safety of their cars," one hotel receptionist told AFP. State authorities have insisted that they will ensure access to the temple, imposing restrictions on public gatherings that came into force from midnight.
Kerala police, who have drafted in hundreds of extra officers, many with helmets and body armour over their khaki uniforms, provided escorts to some buses. Police also patrolled through the night and reinforced their presence at Nilackal, the base camp below the temple. But groups of between 50 and 100 young men gathered at intersections on Thursday, preventing any vehicles from continuing towards the temple.
"Traditions that have existed since before courts cannot be tampered with," said Krishna Kumar, a tall muscular man in his 20s at one crossroads in the town of Kozhencherry. Last month India's Supreme Court overturned a ban on females of menstruating age-judged between 10 and 50 years-entering and praying at the hilltop temple, reached by an tough uphill trek. Women are permitted to enter most Hindu temples but female devotees are still barred from some. The entry of women at Sabarimala was long taboo but a ban was formalised by the Kerala High Court in 1991, a ruling overturned by India's Supreme Court last month.
The restriction reflected an old but still prevalent belief among many that menstruating women are impure, and the fact that the deity Ayyappa was reputed to have been celibate.
The Supreme Court ruling enraged traditionalists, including supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Biju S. Pillai, a local man in his 30s, was one of those opposed to the court ruling, telling AFP that he returned from working in Dubai to "protect the sanctity of the temple".
"No one should be able to change the way this temple has functioned for centuries," he said. "If any change is made they will have to kill us and go over our bodies."

More News For this Category

Three people were killed and 15 others injured following a head-on collision between a bus and a truck on Dhaka-Chattogram highway near Gouripur bus stand area of Daudkandi on Saturday.

Three people were killed and 15 others injured following a head-on collision between a bus and a truck on Dhaka-Chattogram highway near Gouripur bus stand area of Daudkandi on Saturday.

.

Robber gang 'leader' held with arms

UNB, Faridpur :Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested the suspected leader of a robber gang with firearms from Hamirodi village of Bhanga Upazila on Saturday.The elite force identified the detainee

BD "sympathetic" towards its detained workers in Kuwait

UNB, Dhaka :Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait remains "sympathetic" towards the Bangladeshi workers picked up by Kuwaiti police on charge of vandalizing Embassy property and assaulting its three staff physically,

Sudan issues arrest warrants against 38 reporters

Al Jazeera News :Sudan's State Security Prosecution has issued arrest warrants for 38 journalists and activists on charges of "incitement" and spreading "false news", local media reported.According to broadcaster

AC(Land) beaten up by sand lifters in Rajshahi

Staff Reporter :The Assistant Commissioner (land) of Rajshahi's Bagha upazila and three others were injured in an attack allegedly carried out by some sand lifters in a char of

Verdicts against Tarique to be executed after repatriation: Anisul

BSS, Brahmanbaria :Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq on Saturday said verdicts pronounced by different courts against BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman will be executed after bringing

31 Rohingyas waiting to make border crossings to BD from India

bdnews24.com :More Rohingyas are waiting to enter Bangladesh through Brahmanbaria's Kasba border from India amid fears of deportation to Myanmar."As many as 31 Rohingya women, men and children have

Huge cache of arms, explosives seized

Staff Reporter :Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit have seized a huge cache of firearms, ammunition and explosives during a raid in DOHS, Baridhara area of capital.Searching a residential

Dr Kamal goes to S'pore for treatment

UNB, Dhaka :Jatiya Oikyafront Convener Dr Kamal Hossain is going to Singapore on Saturday night for treatment.Dr Kamal along with his wife Hamida Hossain will leave Hazrat Shahjalal International

Experts for moral diplomacy to mount pressure on Myanmar

UNB, Dhaka :Bangladesh can explore more ways with much importance on "moral diplomacy" reaching out to everyone in global society to put pressure on Myanmar for ending the Rohingya