Agencies / Thiruvananthapuram
Lakhs of Women in Kerala Tuesday formed a 620km human chain “in support of gender equality”, amid a row over access to Sabrimala Hindu temple.
The Sabarimala shrine was historically closed to women of “menstruating age” – defined as between 10 and 50. Supreme Court overturned the ban in September, but protesters have since attacked female visitors. The “women’s wall” was organised by the state’s left-wing coalition government.
Lakhs of women from various parts of Kerala had gathered across all national highways to form the chain, which stretched from the northern tip of Kasaragod to the southern end in Thiruvanthapuram.
Organisers had predicted a turnout of around three million.
Officials said the short demonstration was to combat inequality and counter the efforts of right-wing groups that support the ban on women.
Health Minister KK Shylaja administered oath to the gathering in Kasaragod and CPM leader Brinda Karat led the pack in Thiruvananthapuram.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan warmly congratulates all who made Kerala's #WomensWall a great success. The 620 KM long gathering, organized to uphold the values of Kerala Renaissance, saw huge participation of women from all walks of life. This is a momentous occasion in our social life. pic.twitter.com/DiJlgzgSUO
— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) January 1, 2019
Attack against Women’s Wall in Kasaragod
In an odd incident at Chettukund in Kasaragod district, unidentified people hurled stones at the participants of Women’s Wall.A nearby paddy field was put to fire for heightened mob rage. This incident ended up in both the BJP and the CPM pick up fight between each other.
The BJP-NSS organised Ayyappa Jyothi held on December 26 as well was subjected to violence in the Anoor area marking the Kannur-Kasaragod border.
The ruling CPM-led government has backed the entry of women of all ages and stressed the legal responsibility of the government to abide by the top court verdict on the matter. The women’s wall has been envisaged as a counter to the RSS-BJP campaign behind the Sabarimala protests where the latter has taken a position backing the traditions of the temple which do not favour the entry of women of menstruating age. Through the programme, the ruling Left parties have indicated their intention to stand on the right side of history, to hold aloft the renaissance values and ideologies that shaped the social reform movements of Kerala.
Women from all classes & cultural backgrounds forming the bulwark against the offensive of conservative right-wing on women's rights. Another scene from the #VanithaMathil formation at Vytilla in Ernakulam, Kerala. pic.twitter.com/buwNdYLQ2l
— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) January 1, 2019