Guwahati, January 2, 2018:
Lakhs of women formed a ‘human wall for equality’ in Kerala yesterday. It is estimated that 30-50 lakh women joined hands from Kasargod in northern Kerala to Thiruvananthapuram in the South. The event was organized against the backdrop of the Sabarimala controversy.
The Sabarimala temple complex located at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala has been in the news lately due to its restriction of entry on women between the ages of 10-50. The age old custom, however, was overturned by the Supreme Court on 28th September, 2018, who stated that the ban is discriminatory and unconstitutional. It is to be mentioned that the Supreme Court’s verdict has been meet with protests from right-wing groups.
The ruling government fronted by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had sounded the call for the ‘Vanitha Mathil’ (‘Women’s Wall’) and it was sponsored by the state government. The event was organized by the ruling CPI (M) in collaboration with 176 socio-political organizations.
During the inauguration, CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said that although some women worship Lord Ayappa (deity of the Sabarimala temple) in a certain manner, it is unconstitutional to stop women from seeking darshan directly at the temple.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, speaking during the event, slammed the Sangh Parivar for trying to communalise Kerala and said that the women’s wall is about gender equality and equal opportunities. It is to be mentioned that thousands of men also stood parallel to the women’s wall, expressing solidarity.