By Randa Darwish
A row over Indian women’s eligibility to enter one of the holiest places for Hindus, the Sabarimala Temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala, have been boiling for the past two days leading to support for gender equality from all over India.
It all started after a video emerged on the social media showing two women, Bindu and Kanaka Durga, walking towards the shrine wearing black clothes with their heads covered.
The video was first posted by ANI, one of the local news outlets in India, on Twitter.
It did not take long time before the social media took control, igniting bloggers from all over India. Meanwhile, the temple was briefly shut down for what is called "purification ritual" by the priests after it emerged the two women had entered it.
There was anger on the social media over the video that was posted.
Many also expressed their “shock” at the video accusing the police of helping the two women enter the temple.
Ban on women of menstruating age - between 10 to 50 years old - from entering the Sabarimala shrine has been going on for centuries. Women with the period are also not allowed to participate in religious rituals or enter any Hindu temples as they are considered “unclean”.
However, India’s Supreme Court overturned the ban in September 2018, sparking much anger and protests among Hindu hardliners who opposed the decision and attacked and threatened female pilgrims from entering the temple.
Despite the police’s efforts to protect women when entering the temple they have been attacked by conservatives who oppose the decision.
Meanwhile, women in the state of Kerala formed a human chain, Wednesday, covering around 620 km to protest over gender inequality and discrimination they are facing due to out-dated laws.
The “women’s wall” organized by the state left-wing coalition government recieved massive support by millions of women around India who protested in their cities to show support.
Several videos were shared on the social media showing women standing together forming a chain to express their support to gender equality and every woman’s right to pray freely.
Meanwhile, many videos showed women of different religions going out on the streets to support Hindu women in their struggle to fight sexism and discrimination.
Videos showing Muslim and Christian women taking part in the wall, or as some called it chain, gave Hindu conservatives the chance to attack the protests, claiming it was fake and arranged by women from other religions but not Hindus.
Some criticized Christian and Muslim women for not being able to protest the religious laws they are being, allegedly, forced into, accusing them of hypocrisy for not being able to change the laws related to their religions before supporting others in their struggles.
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