Protesters burning effigy of Kerala state chief Pinarayi Vijayan | REUTERS
Two women defied a centuries-old ban on entering a Hindu temple in India’s southern state of Kerala in the early hours of Wednesday (January 2), the state’s chief minister said, raising fears of a backlash from conservative Hindu groups.
A video from a local police official posted online by Reuters partner ANI on Wednesday showed two women inside the temple with their heads covered.
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s chief minister, said in a televised news conference that the two women, who had previously tried but failed to enter the temple because their way was blocked by devotees, faced no obstruction on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear how the women on this occasion managed to avoid devotees guarding the temple.
Rights Activist Trupti Desai, who in November last year was forced to return after she was blocked by protesters at Cochin International airport in a failed attempt to reach the temple, termed the entry of the women as a historic win.
Last year, violent protests broken out in the state after India’s top court in September ordered the authorities to lift a ban on women or girls of menstruating age – between 10 and 50 – from entering the temple, which draws millions of worshippers a year. — Reuters