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In SC, Kerala govt accused of ‘harassing’ women going to Sabarimala

Activist Bindu Ammini being escorted by police in Kochi. She unsuccessfully tried to visit the Sabarimala shrine last week.

Activist Bindu Ammini being escorted by police in Kochi. She unsuccessfully tried to visit the Sabarimala shrine last week.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Woman alleges Kerala is acting in gross contempt of court decision to allow entry of women of menstruating age.

A woman alleged in the Supreme Court on Monday that the Kerala government was giving a “free hand” to unlawful elements to harass and attack women between 10 and 50 years of age en route to worship at the Sabarimala temple.

Bindu Ammini noted that the Supreme Court judgment of September 28, 2018 has not been stayed in review. She said Kerala was acting in gross contempt of the court's decision to allow entry of women of menstruating age.

Ms. Bindu, represented by advocate Prashant Padmanabhan and in a petition settled by senior advocate Indira Jaising, narrated her own experience, saying she was attacked en route and even confined in a hospital.

The police had refused to give her group, all women under the age of 50, any sort of protection. She was sprayed on the face with a chemical substance by a man, whom she had identified. Women like her were subjected to violence, which was not only physical but also psychological, she said.

Ms. Bindu urged the court to direct Kerala to ensure safe passage to women to the Sabarimala temple, regardless of their age or religion.

“Direct immediate cessation of age verification and counselling done by the police officials at the behest of State of Kerala discouraging women of menstruating age from visiting Sabarimala and initiate appropriate proceedings against any State officials or private individuals who act in defiance of the orders of this court,” her plea said.

Ms. Bindu called for immediate and wide publication of the 2018 judgment and asked the court to direct Kerala to “respect, fulfil and protect the rights of all women regardless of age to enter the Sabarimala temple without hindrance in any manner whatsoever and in particular by preventing the unruly mobs or individuals from obstructing them from entering the temple”.

The application said, “It is submitted that the responsible government which is duty bound to carry out the directions of this Court cannot be allowed to take flimsy excuses for non-cooperation when any woman wanted to exercise her right to worship at Sabarimala”.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 2:57:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-sc-kerala-govt-accused-of-harassing-women-going-to-sabarimala/article30139576.ece

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