Hindu groups counter protest against women using temple

Source:Reuters Published: 2019/1/3 21:33:40

Conservative Hindu groups forced India's southern state of Kerala to a standstill on Thursday as they protested against the state government for allowing two women to defy an ancient ban and enter a Hindu temple.

About 400 protesters, including some women, took to the streets of Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala, in the early morning, backed by officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP.

Stores and small businesses were shut after Hindu groups called for a state-wide stoppage. Some bus services were halted and taxis were refusing to take passengers with  drivers saying they feared being attacked.

The state's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, told reporters that women were the target of some attacks by protesters, including women journalists covering the events.

India's Supreme Court in September ordered the lifting of the ban on women of menstruating age entering the Sabarimala hill temple, which draws millions of worshippers a year. The temple has refused to abide by the ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit have been blocked by thousands of devotees.

In the early hours of Wednesday, two women were escorted by police into the temple through a side gate without being spotted by devotees guarding the temple.




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