Ayyappa Swami association condemns women's entry into Sabarimala temple

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The activists and women devotees who tried to trek to the shrine so far include Trupti Desai, who was held up at Kochi airport after protesters laid siege forcing her to call off her proposed visit to the temple on November 16.

As the news of the women entering the temple spread, protests erupted with right-wing activists blocking highways and forcing closure of shops and markets.

The Bhumata Brigade founder said she was happy to hear that two women in their forties had managed to reach the "sannidhanam" (temple complex) and offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa and congratulated their effort.

"It is a fact that the women entered the shrine". They were accompanied by police personnel.

On Jan. 1, 2019, women in Kerala, southern India, joined to form a 385-mile (620km) "women's wall" to protest the persistent barring of women from the Sabarimala temple, which has historically banned women aged between 10 and 50.

The women - Kanakadurga (44) and Bindu (42) - wearing the traditional black dress with their heads covered, climbed the hill shrine at 3.38 am Wednesday.

On Tuesday, millions of women formed a human chain more than 600 kilometers (375 miles) long from Kasargod in the northern part of the state to Thiruvananthapuram, the southernmost city and the state capital, to support gender equality.

Media reports and supporters of the initiative claimed hundreds of thousands of women formed a human chain across the 620-kilometre length of the state.

They argue that the court has ignored their beliefs that the Sabarimala temple's deity Ayyappa was celibate.

The women, who are now under police protection, can be seen leaving the shrine in videos that have been circulating on WhatsApp.

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In October, devotees clashed with police in a town near the temple leading to the arrest of more than 2,000 people.

The CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and state ministers came down heavily on the chief priest for performing the ritual in violation of Supreme Court order.

"The temple has now been closed for cleaning ritual following this incident where the women forcefully entered the temple".

Most Hindu temples allow women to enter if they are not now menstruating, rather than disallowing women from a broad age group, according to the BBC.

"This is a massive victory for the women of India".

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed Bindhu and Kanakadurga entered the temple.

What happened when women finally entered the temple?

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It contains a shrine to Lord Ayyappa, believed to have been the Earth-born son of two of Hinduism's three main gods, Vishnu (in his female avatar) and Shiva.

NSS, which has filed a review plea in the Supreme Court challenging its verdict, expressed hope that the top court would take a favourable decision.

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