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Two Indian women enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala amid protests

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Centuries-old ban on the entry of menstruating women breached at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

The temple was briefly shut down for a ‘Puyalluurification ritual’ following the announcement of the women entering [File: Sivaram V/Reuters]

Source :Aljazeera 

New Delhi, India – A centuries-old ban has been breached by two women who entered an ancient Hindu temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala despite strong protests by right-wing conservative groups.

“Today, two women entered Sabarimala Temple. We had issued standing orders to police to provide all possible protection to any woman who wants to enter the temple,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Kerala’s capital city, Trivandrum, on Wednesday.

A video posted online by the Indian news agency, ANI, showed the two women, Bindu and Kanaka Duraga, hurriedly walking towards the shrine wearing black clothes with their heads covered.

The temple was briefly shut down for a “purification ritual” by the priests following the announcement of the women entering the temple.

The Sabarimala shrine was historically closed to women of menstruating age until the country’s Supreme Court overturned the ban in September.

Sabarimala Ayyappa temple’s website explains that since Lord Ayyappa was “Nithya Brahmachari” – or celibate – women in the 10-50 age group are not allowed to enter.

Since the top court’s verdict, Hindu hardliners, opposed to the decision, have attacked female pilgrims, threatened journalists and pelted stones at police.

On Tuesday, a 620-km human wall was formed by women in Kerala “in support of gender equality” from Kasargod in the north to the capital, Trivandrum

Two Indian women enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala amid protests

Centuries-old ban on the entry of menstruating women breached at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

The temple was briefly shut down for a 'purification ritual' following the announcement of the women entering [File: Sivaram V/Reuters]
The temple was briefly shut down for a ‘purification ritual’ following the announcement of the women entering [File: Sivaram V/Reuters]

New Delhi, India – A centuries-old ban has been breached by two women who entered an ancient Hindu temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala despite strong protests by right-wing conservative groups.

“Today, two women entered Sabarimala Temple. We had issued standing orders to police to provide all possible protection to any woman who wants to enter the temple,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Kerala’s capital city, Trivandrum, on Wednesday.

A video posted online by the Indian news agency, ANI, showed the two women, Bindu and Kanaka Duraga, hurriedly walking towards the shrine wearing black clothes with their heads covered.

The temple was briefly shut down for a “purification ritual” by the priests following the announcement of the women entering the temple.

The Sabarimala shrine was historically closed to women of menstruating age until the country’s Supreme Court overturned the ban in September.

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Sabarimala temple: A rallying point for the Hindu far right?

Sabarimala Ayyappa temple’s website explains that since Lord Ayyappa was “Nithya Brahmachari” – or celibate – women in the 10-50 age group are not allowed to enter.

Since the top court’s verdict, Hindu hardliners, opposed to the decision, have attacked female pilgrims, threatened journalists and pelted stones at police.

On Tuesday, a 620-km human wall was formed by women in Kerala “in support of gender equality” from Kasargod in the north to the capital, Trivandrum.

Two women devotees Bindu and Kanakdurga entered & offered prayers at Kerala’s at 3.45am today

Manithi Selvi, who attempted to enter the temple last month but had to back down after being hounded by violent protesters, hailed the duo’s entry as a “brave feat”.

“This is a massive victory for the women of India. These two women have protected India’s constitutional rights and smashed the walls of patriarchy. But this is only the first step, we need to guard our rights in the family, in the home, in the workplace,” Selvi told Al Jazeera.

“Those who have tried to purify the temple today after the women entered are standing against the constitution of this country. We have to reject these ideas,” she added.

Bindu, one of the women who entered the temple on Wednesday, was threatened by right-wing protesters earlier and her house was vandalised, said Selvi.

Following their entry, conservative Hindu groups said they will continue to oppose women entering the temple.

“The temple has now been closed for cleaning ritual following this incident where the women forcefully entered the temple. We will definitely go back to the top court to fight this battle out. It’s not over yet and we will win,” Rahul Easwar, president of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena (Ayyappa Religious Army), that claims to protect the interests of the Lord Ayyappa told Al Jazeera.

KK Shailaja, minister for social justice in Kerala, said her government stands for “gender equality”. She had also participated in the “women’s human wall” on Tuesday.

“We are upholding the top court orders and our government here will continue to strongly back all women. We stand for gender equality. Those saying that women are impure should be ashamed of themselves. How can they say women are impure in front of God?” Shailaja told Al Jazeera.

“There is no logical reason to stop women from entering any temple,” she said.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has backed the anti-women protesters despite the court orders, in what critics say is a move to fan Hindu religious sentiment to make inroads into the region.

Menstruation is rarely discussed openly in India and menstrual blood is considered impure by many communities. Across cities and towns, menstruating girls and women are not allowed to prepare food, enter a temple or touch an idol.

An estimated one million Hindu pilgrims travel to the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala annually.

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Breaking News : Oil tanker explodes in Lagos .

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A tanker explosion has occurred at Toyota bus-stop inwards Mile 2, along Oshodi-Apapa expressway.

The tanker was fully loaded with fuel at the time it exploded.

Oil tanker explodes in Lagos (photos/video)

Fire service arrived at the scene to put out the fire.

The Federal Fire Service giving an update on Twitter moments later, the Federal Fire Service said, “Update: The tanker fire situation at Toyota Bus stop, along Oshodi Apapa Expressway, Lagos State has been brought under control.”

 

Oil tanker explodes in Lagos (photos/video)

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Lagos state government shuts down all schools over #EndSARS protests

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The Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of public and private schools in the state indefinitely.
This was announced in a press statement by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi, on Monday.
The statement was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’.
It quoted the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.”
The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
Adefisayo added that “the safety of the pupils/students, parents and all staff working in schools is paramount at this critical period”.
She however advised parents to “keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society”.
The Commissioner also encouraged schools to “utilize other means of distance teaching and learning i.e radio, television and online media as they have been doing during and post the recent COVID-19 lockdown”.

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Siberian Husky Awaits Trial For Allegedly Murdering Neighbor Cat

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A Siberian Husky in Denver was accused of killing a neighbor’s cat and now sits in an animal shelter awaiting a trial.

Zuma, the 12-year-old dog who lives with Kevin and Valerie Kickham, reportedly wandered over to a neighbor’s yard in Central Park early August and took the life of a seven-year-old Tabby cat, according to FOX 31 News.

“It was only this one moment in time that I lost track of Zuma and something did occur,” Kevin confessed to the outlet with Valerie by his side.

Denver Animal Protection eventually picked Zuma up and has held him in their shelter since the alleged incident.

While Kevin and Valerie “feel bad” about the loss of the cat, they are very concerned for Zuma, whom they have sheltered since he was eight weeks old and call “son.”

“He’s very much our child,” stated Valerie.

“I remember him taking part of his first Thanksgiving turkey,” Kevin recalled fondly. “We fed him turkey in the bowl and next thing you know he actually jumped up and grabbed a piece of turkey for himself.”

A spokesperson for the Denver Animal Protection told the outlet that a judge may exonerate Zuma. If found guilty, however, Zuma could be put to sleep or relocated “somewhere outside the city.”

“It’s not a scenario that’s ideal,” explained Kevin.

While they await the trial date set for mid-November, the Kickhams are allowed weekly visits to the shelter.

“Both of our last visits he wasn’t excited,” Kevin told the news source. “It’s been very hard.”

With the life expectancy of a Siberian Husky ranging from 12 to 15 years, the couple are fearful they may not have much more time together with Zuma.

“We know that it’s not going to be much longer,” Kevin added. “We’ve cherished every moment with him.”

The outlet said they have reached out to the family of the feline victim, but there has been no response.

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