Sabarimala Temple in Kerala opened its doors on October 17 for the first time since the Supreme Court ended the ban on women of menstruating age entering the temple complex. But despite the court order, thousands of people protesting the Supreme Court judgment stopped women from entering the temple as well as reportedly heckled and attacked women journalists who were on the way to the temple. The mob also vandalised media cars as well as pelted stones.
One day before the temple was to open for public, buses were reportedly flagged down by protesters to check if there were any women passengers. A couple of women decided to trek the path to the temple with their families but eventually gave up midway as hundreds of people started protesting.
In its September 28 judgment, the Supreme Court ended the ban on menstruating women entering the temple complex. It observed,
“Subversion of women on biological factors cannot be given legitimacy. Certain dogmas have resulted in incongruity between doctrine and practice.”
The judgment was hailed by women’s rights activists but is being protested against by traditionalists who claim that women of menstruating age are “impure” and “will anger Lord Ayyappa” as he is celibate.