Sabarimala Protests: Are You a “True Devotee” If You Continue to Attack Women?

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Sabarimala Protests: Are You a “True Devotee” If You Continue to Attack Women?

Illustration: Arati Gujar

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t’s been two days since two women in their 40s – Bindu and Kanakadurga – made history by entering the Sabarimala shrine, going against “tradition” and inciting a fresh round of protests from right-wing parties. Their entry came more than two months after Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple officially opened for women, following the landmark Supreme Court judgement that overturned the centuries-old tradition which denied entry to women between the ages of 10 and 50 years. Women of menstruating age offend Ayyappa, a celibate deity, believe his staunch devotees.

This led to the abuse and attack on Kairali TV cameraperson Shajila Abdulrahman, who was covering a Sangh Parivar protest against women entering the temple. As Abdulrahman kept the camera rolling, a mob vandalised posters and attacked journalists. She was threatened, heckled, her camera was snatched, and she was kicked on her back. In fact, a picture of her continuing to capture the protest in tears after being attacked went viral. It’s evident that the Sabarimala protests have nothing to do with tradition and everything to do with discrimination against women.

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