‘620 km human chain’ for gender equality

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WC Desk:

Photo Source: Times of India

Women in the southern Indian state of Kerala have formed a 620km (385-mile) human chain “in support of gender equality”, amid a row over access to a prominent Hindu temple.

The Sabarimala shrine was historically closed to women of “menstruating age” – defined as between 10 and 50.

India’s top court overturned the ban in September, but protesters have since attacked female visitors.

The “women’s wall” was organised by the state’s left-wing coalition government.

Officials told BBC Hindi’s Imran Qureshi that around five million women from various parts of Kerala had gathered across all national highways to form the chain, which stretched from the northern tip of Kasaragod to the southern end in Thiruvanthapuram.

Organisers had predicted a turnout of around three million.

Officials said the short demonstration was to combat inequality and counter the efforts of right-wing groups that support the ban on women.

One young demonstrator, Kavita Das, told BBC Hindi: “This is a great way of saying how powerful women are, and how we can empower ourselves and help each other. Of course, I support the move to allow women of all ages into the temple. I don’t think tradition or any kind of backwardness should stop women. Those who want to pray must have the right to pray.”

Another woman, Tanuja Bhattadri, observed: “Sabarimala is not the main issue here today. I believe men and women are equal.”

Source: BBC

 

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