Bengaluru: A 46-year old woman from Sri Lanka, Sasikala, entered Kerala’s Sabarimala temple on Thursday night, making it the second time women broke the faith barrier in the controversial hillshrine after the Supreme Court overturned the ban for women between the age group of 10 and 50 in the temple.
On Wednesday dawn, two women, Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga, had created history by entering the temple against the ban, igniting a firestorm of protests in Kerala that was marked by violence and arson on Thursday.
Reports of Sasikala’s visit has been speculated in the local media late night on Thursday, but the police officials on duty near the temple and a relative of Sasikala, speaking to reporters, had denied it. On Friday, the closed circuit camera visuals obtained by the local media suggested a woman’s spotting near the sanctum, assisted by two police officers in civilian dress.
The police have now confirmed that 46-year-old Sri Lankan woman, Sasikala, visited the Sabarimala temple, reported Hindustan Times. They said initially the news was denied as part of a strategy to ensure Sasikala’s safe return from the temple site.
Speaking to reporters, Sasikala had said that she is a devotee who has taken the ritualistic 41-day penance and cannot be stopped by anyone. She also presented reports to the police, proving to have undergone a uterus removal surgery, said local reports. The faith in Sabarimala holds menstruating women as impure. The visit has sparked protests near the temple, local reports said.
The development comes just as Kerala was limping back to normalcy after a day of heavy clashes between Sangh Parivar and Bharatiya Janata Party supported protestors stormed the state with violence over the temple entry, a move that resulted in violent clashes with the police and the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers, among others.
As of Friday morning, the police have arrested about 1369 protestors, in 801 cases and kept another 717 under preventive custody. The protests and the violence were largely subdued, but continued in parts of Kerala on Friday. In Adoor, about 50 houses, including those related to CPM workers, were vandalized by protestors, said local reports.
The controversy also reached Lok Sabha on Friday, where Congress and BJP parliamentarians attacked the ruling CPM government over facilitating women entry to Sabarimala while a review petition to reinstate the ban on women is pending before the Supreme Court.