MALE PRO­TEST­ERS SURGE TO KEEP WOMEN FROM EN­TER­ING TEM­PLE

Calgary Herald - - WORLD -

A tem­ple in south­ern In­dia that is one of the world’s largest Hindu pil­grim­age cen­tres opened its doors to fe­males of men­stru­at­ing age on Wed­nes­day to com­ply with a Supreme Court rul­ing, but women weren’t able to en­ter as hun­dreds of pro­test­ers fought street bat­tles with po­lice to keep them out.

As the gates of the Sabari­mala tem­ple were flung open, a crowd of male devo­tees surged to­ward the tem­ple. About 1,000 po­lice used ba­tons to try to con­trol the pro­test­ers, who at­tacked and dam­aged po­lice and TV ve­hi­cles and bul­lied fe­male devo­tees to turn back.

Po­lice ar­rested 11 pro­test­ers when they tried to block the path of some fe­males.

The en­try of fe­males be­tween the ages of 10 and 50 to the cen­turies-old tem­ple was banned in­for­mally for many years, and then by law in 1972.

In 1991, the Ker­ala High Court con­firmed the ban. In­dia’s Supreme Court lifted the ban last month, hold­ing that equal­ity is supreme ir­re­spec­tive of age and gen­der.

Tem­ple man­age­ment and the pro­test­ers ar­gue that the celi­bate na­ture of the tem­ple’s pre­sid­ing de­ity, Lord Ayyappa, is pro­tected by In­dia’s Con­sti­tu­tion. Some re­li­gious fig­ures con­sider men­stru­at­ing women to be im­pure.

ARUN SANKAR / AFP / GETTY IM­AGES

Comments

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.