A female school-teacher, who had publicly supported entry of women of all ages at the Sabarimala hilltop shrine, woke up in the wee hours of Thursday to find the window-panes of her home smashed by unknown assailants.
Aparna Sivakaami filed a police complaint Thursday in connection with an attack on her home in Kakkanchery in Malappuram district of Kerala. She woke up to find the glass of the window-panes smashed to pieces through stone-pelting by unknown persons. She couldn’t identify the perpetrators but she told police that she heard a bike riding away into the darkness shortly after. The local police visited her home, gathered evidence and have registered a case.
Sivakaami, who’s on a sabbatical from school to undergo chemotherapy sessions, has made it clear on more than one occasion that she backed entry of women at the shrine, previously barred for those of menstrual age, although she would not like to go herself. She posted recently on Facebook that she backed a clutch of women who have booked the preferred date and time of their darshan at the temple through an online website. In fact, she had helped organise a press conference in Kochi last week where three young women announced their intentions to visit the temple. The attack on Sivakaami’s home comes in a long line of similar moves ostensibly by right-wing protesters to scare them into abandoning their pursuits. The top court in India had passed a landmark ruling ending age-restrictions on the entry of women at the shrine in September-end.
Since the SC verdict, no woman between the previously traditionally barred age group of 10 to 50 has been able to breach the defence put up by right-wing protesters to enter the temple. In recent weeks, the temple and its surroundings have resembled a fortress with massive security forces deployed by the state government to counter protesters. All three parties, the CPM, BJP and the Congress, have been engaged in an ugly confrontation with protests and demonstrations marking every day at Sabarimala. The Travancore Devaswom Board, which administers the temple, has approached the top court asking for more time to implement the verdict. On January 22, the top court will hear a clutch of review petitions filed against the ruling passed by the five-judge constitution bench.