India court orders security for women who entered flashpoint temple

Bindu Ammini, right, and Kanakadurga, left, entered the hilltop Sabarimala temple on Jan. 2. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
0

India court orders security for women who entered flashpoint temple

  • Devotees refused India’s supreme court ruling to lift the ban on women aged 10-50 from entering hilltop Sabarimala temple
  • Violent protests broke after two women managed to enter the temple

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered southern Kerala state to provide “round-the-clock” security to two women who enraged conservatives by entering one of Hinduism’s holiest temples earlier this month.
The court in September overturned a ban on women aged between 10 and 50 from entering the hilltop Sabarimala temple, but the devotees refused to accept the ruling and prevented female worshippers from entering.
News that two women had managed to enter the shrine on January 2 triggered days of violent protest, with one person killed and dozens injured in clashes with police that saw buses torched and bombs hurled.
The women, Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga, went in hiding and later approached the top court, claiming their lives were in danger.
“Having heard the lawyers we deem it appropriate to close this petition at this stage by directing Kerala to provide adequate security to both. The security would be provided round the clock,” the court said.
Kanakadurga, who goes by one name, was allegedly attacked by her mother-in-law on Tuesday after returning home and was admitted to hospital for her injuries.
She had been on the run for days with Ammini, with the pair changing safe houses more than 10 times to avoid being tracked down.
The temple — considered among the holiest in Hinduism and set on top of a hill in a tiger reserve — receives millions of pilgrims a year.
It is dedicated to the celibate deity Ayyappa, and followers believe letting in women of menstruating age goes against his wishes.
It is one of the few Hindu temples with restrictions on the entry of women.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear legal challenges to its September order overturning the ban on women entering Sabarimala next week.


13 under arrest for Sri Lanka blasts: police

Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside the church premises following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 34 sec ago
0

13 under arrest for Sri Lanka blasts: police

COLOBO: Sri Lankan police have arrested 13 men in connection with bomb blasts on churches and hotels that killed more than 200 people, officials said Monday.
Authorities have not made public details on those held after Sunday’s attacks. But a police source told AFP the 13 were detained at two locations in and around Colombo.