One person was killed and at least 15 injured in violence across southern India’s Kerala state which broke out after two women defied traditionalists to enter one of Hinduism’s holiest temples, something that was previously banned.
Clashes were reported across the state after the two women activists, who were escorted by police, entered the Sabarimala temple in a pre-dawn operation on Wednesday to enter the religious temple.
The person who died was part of a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) demonstration yesterday and got injured when some stones were hurled towards the crowd.
The Supreme Court in September overturned a decades-old ban on women of menstruating age, between 10 and 50, being able to enter the gold-plated Sabarimala temple. Traditionally, the Hindu community see menstruation with negative connotations.
Demonstrations across the state have since erupted and police have fired tear gas to disperse crowds. Violent clashes have been reported outside the state parliament.
In a historic Bindu Ammini, 40, and Kanaka Durga, 39, devotees of the temple deity, Lord Ayyappa, entered around dawn on Wednesday morning and were able to see the ‘darshan’, the idol.
The Supreme Court is to start hearing a legal challenge on its ruling to allow women into the temple from January 22.
Women are still barred from a handful of Hindu temples in India. The entry of women at Sabarimala was taboo for generations and formalised by the Kerala High Court in 1991.