Sabarimala: Women who entered the Shrine are unable to return home after threats

New Delhi: Two women devotees, below the age of 50 years, who made history by entering the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala for the first time in centuries are now hiding after threats by protesters.

Months after the Supreme Court overturned a ban on the entry of females of menstrual age (10-50 years) from visiting the shrine, the temple has been the site of tension.

There have since been sporadic outbreaks of violence between the authorities and protesters attempting to prevent women from entering.

The two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, who are in their 40s, entered the temple premises and offered prayers earlier this month. They were accompanied by police personnel and were determined to enter despite threats of violence.

The women speaking in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kochi say they have since faced threats from protesters, but that they trusted the authorities to keep them safe and plan to return home next week.

Kanakadurga stated that “A lot of people tried to dissuade us and make us turn back – police officers, our friends… because they knew we were facing a lot of backlash.”

Another woman named Bindu said “We felt no fear. We had only one aim: we wanted to go to that shrine. This BJP government has a duty to regulate and control their members.”

She further added that “I always say that I trust the police persons, the state government of Kerala and also our democratic society of Kerala.”

Their entry sparked widespread protests and a day-long strike in Kerala led in part by members of ruling BJP.