As the debate and protests over the Supreme Court order permitting women of all ages to enter the hill shrine of Sabarimala rage on, five women protestors on Tuesday entered a public meet in Thiruvananthapuram where Kerala Minister for Local Administration AC Moideen was addressing a women's gathering.
The protestors entered the venue at Kaattakkada, chanting "Naamajapams" or Ayyappa chants and tried to disrupt the Minister's speech, prompting other women to join them at the same time. However, to their surprise, instead of joining the chanting, hundreds of women present at the venue booed at the five from all sides till they were forced out of the area by the cops deployed at the venue.
In a video that is doing rounds on social media, Minister Moideen is heard pacifying the crowd as more and more attendees stood up from their seats to boo the protestors as they were being moved by the police.
"They will go now. They came here on somebody's compulsion," the Minister is heard saying.
Interestingly, the incident has happened at a time when the BJP state unit and other parties while refusing to accept the court ruling, have openly declared that they have the backing of all the practising Hindu women in Kerala, who, they said don't wish to visit Sabarimala before they turn 50.
Kerala's Left government had welcomed the apex court ruling allowing young women to enter the Ayyappa temple, while the opposition Congress and BJP started protests against the ruling. In the violent agitations that followed, women journalists were attacked and elderly women were to be given police protection at the Nilakkal base camp.
While the left circles of the state interpret the ongoing agitation as a Sangh Parivar-sponsored agenda to halt Kerala's progressive and secular values, the right-wingers have claimed the Pinarayi Vijayan government's decision to implement the ruling to be an “atheist-communist” effort to destroy the rituals at the Hindu temple.