Activists caught and protests to veto women's access to an Indian temple

Activists caught and protests to veto women's access to an Indian temple

A group of seven women led by prominent activist Trupti Desai have been trapped at the airport in Cochin (south) for the protest of hundreds of devotees trying to deny them access to a temple, despite the Supreme Court of India has allowed the entry of females.

They tried to be the first to enter the temple of Sabarimala, which this afternoon will open its doors for the third time since in September the highest judicial body lifted the ban that weighed on women between 10 and 50 years old, of menstruating age and according to the impure tradition to approach the celibate god Ayyappa.

About half a thousand devotees, many of them sympathizers of the governmental and Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), congregate outside the airfield from 04.30 local time (23.00 GMT), when the Desai flight landed, confirmed Efe the secretary of the BJP in Kerala, Gireeshan G.

"He's still inside," he explained about the well-known feminist activist and her detention at the airport, about 150 kilometers from the temple.

The source insisted that the protest is a matter for the "devotees" and is not organized by the BJP, while affirming that the pilgrims will not allow Desai to access Sabarimala "for the general interest".

Each attempt of ascent the two previous times that the temple opened its doors was settled with the half turn of the women who tried to make a pilgrimage to him, clashes between the security forces and the demonstrators and even attacks to several journalists.

The ruling of the highest judicial body came after a petition promoted in 2006 by the Association of Young Lawyers in India, challenging the centennial tradition against women.

The decision unleashed protests by Ayyappa supporters, as well as the regional section of the BJP of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the historic Congress Party, which joined the devotees during the demonstrations.


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