Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Women Gain Entry Rights at The Temple (And Need A Temple Be Destroyed?)

Wait.

This is not about the Temple Mount, or the egalitarian Western Wall pray area in Jerusalem.

But it is riveting.

A two-year old ruling is coming to a clash in India.  We learn that


NEW DELHI — Thousands of devotees joined street marches in southern India on Monday as tensions mounted over a recent Supreme Court verdict revoking a ban on women entering a famous Hindu temple.

The Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala — considered one of the holiest for Hindus — in Kerala state has traditionally barred all women of menstruating age, between 10 and 50.

But India’s top court revoked the ban on women entering the temple in September...Those protesting against the court’s decision on Monday, including hundreds of women, warned they would step up their protests before the temple reopens on Wednesday, when it will have to allow all women entry as per the court order.

...“We will meet each villager in Kerala and chalk out a massive agitation plan to protect the temple, its centuries-old traditions and sentiments of Lord Ayyappa devotees,” Kerala BJP president P.S Sreedharan Pillai told NDTV.

Millions of devotees visit the temple every year to seek the blessings of Ayyappa, the presiding deity who is believed to be celibate. According to the temple website, pilgrims have to observe celibacy for 41 days before entering the shrine. 

And on Tuesday

India deployed hundreds of police Tuesday in southern Kerala state where protesters have threatened to stop women from entering a Hindu temple, despite a court ruling they can pray there. India's Supreme Court in September overturned a prohibition on women of menstruating age, between 10 and 50, from entering a temple for the deity Ayyappa.
Activists have said the long-standing ban reflected an old but still prevalent belief that menstruating women were impure.
Rajasthan BJP today condemned Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor's remarks that no good Hindu would want the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, by destroying somebody else's place of worship and asked the opposition party to clarify its stand on the issue....

...Mr Tharoor, who is Congress legislator from Thiruvananthapuram, made the controversial comments at an event in Chennai on Sunday.
"As a Hindu, obviously, I am conscious that a vast majority of my fellow Hindus believe that that (Ayodhya) was the specific birthplace of Ram," Mr Tharoor had said.
"For this reason, most good Hindus would want to see a Ram temple at the site where Ram was supposed to be (have been) born. But I also believe that no good Hindu would have wanted that a temple be built by demolishing somebody else's place (of worship)," he had said.
However, he later claimed that his remarks were distorted out of malice. 
"I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters. I said: most Hindus would want a temple at what they believe to be Ram's birthplace. But no good Hindu would want it to be built by destroying another's place of worship," he tweeted.

Does UNESCO need to get involved

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UPDATE:


Crowds of agitated protesters in Kerala attacked female devotees, many of whom turned back as a result. Several people including an old woman were injured as crowds threw stones at vehicles and attacked police officers.The Sabarimala temple has historically been closed to women of "menstruating age".Hinduism regards menstruating women as unclean and bars them from participating in religious rituals.


2nd UPDATE

Suspected Hindu radicals attacked a spiritual retreat founded by a preacher who backed letting women enter a renowned Indian temple, police said. The incident heightened tensions in southern India where police have rounded up more than 2,000 people suspected of taking part in protests to stop women from worshipping at the Sabrimala shrine.



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