Sabarimala, Woman in Contention with Indian Temple Ban, Attacked by Mother-in-Law

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Out of the two women; who made history by entering an ancient Hindu temple, one Kanaka Durga,39 has allegedly been beaten with a wooden plank by her mother-in-law for “breaching its ban on female worshippers”.

The shrine was closed to women of “menstruating age” – defined as between 10 and 50 – until India’s top court overturned the ban in September. But despite the ruling, protesters blocked any women who tried to enter.

Kanaka Durga, who hails from an orthodox Nair family in areekode, had drawn the ire of her family and relatives for her visit to Sabrimala. On December 24th, she attempted to visit Sabrimala along with Bindu.But were forced to abandon their trip due to strong protests and went into hiding since 2 January fearing retribution from extremists.

When she finally returned back to her home on Tuesday, she was assaulted by her mother-in-law with a wooden plank resulting in injuries and bruises on her head and hand. She was recovering in the Government District Hospital of Perinthalmanna and told the police about this incident when she returned home ; a case has been registered by the Perinthalmanna police regarding this assault.

Why are women of a certain age not allowed to enter Sabarimala?

According to Hinduism, women during mensturation are considered impious and hence are bared from participating in religious rituals.

While most Hindu temples allow women to enter as long as they are not menstruating, the Sabarimala temple is unusual in that it was one of the few that did not allow women in a broad age group to enter at all.

According to the temple’s mythology, Lord Ayyappa is an avowed bachelor who has taken an oath of celibacy. Devotees say the ban on women of “menstruating age” was in keeping with the wish of the deity who is believed to have laid down clear rules about the pilgrimage to seek his blessings.

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