Kerala women unable to return home after Sabarimala visit

Kerala women unable to return home after Sabarimala visit
Kanaka Durga (L) and Bindu Ammini, the first women to enter Sabarimala temple after SC verdict. Photo: Reuters

Kochi: Two Kerala women, who entered the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala after the Supreme Court lifted an age-old ban, are still in hiding, unable to return home.

Bindu Ammini, 42-year-old law lecturer, and Kanakadurga, 44, told Reuters they were determined to enter the temple despite threats of violence. While Bindu is from Kozhikode, Kanakadurga hails from Malappuram.

"A lot of people tried to dissuade us and make us turn back - police officers, our friends... because they knew we would be facing a lot of backlash," Kanakadurga said.

After the Supreme Court's judgment, the women made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the temple on December 24, before finally succeeding on January 2.

A third woman from Sri Lanka aged 46 has since entered the temple, the Chief Minister's office said on January 4.

"We felt no fear. We had only one aim: we wanted to go to that shrine," Bindu said.

Their entry sparked widespread protests and a day-long hartal by Sabarimala Karma Samiti that was backed by the BJP.

The women - speaking from an undisclosed location - said they have since faced threats from protesters, but that they trusted the authorities to keep them safe and plan to return home next week.

"I always say that I trust the police personnel, the state government and also our democratic society of Kerala," Bindu said.

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