Two women enter Hindu temple in India, breaking years-long ban

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A cop was injured in stone pelting.

Reddy accused the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to politicise the issue. The group consisted of six men in addition to the two women, who had covered their faces.

The Bhumata Brigade founder said she was happy to hear that two women in their forties had managed to reach the "sannidhanam" (temple complex) and offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa and congratulated their effort.

Opponents of the ruling say the celibacy of the temple's presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is protected by India's Constitution, and that women of all ages can worship at other Hindu temples.

Confirming their entry, the chief minister told reporters "it is a fact that the women have entered the temple".

Sabarimala reopened after around an hour. Police also resorted to lathi charge in Palakkad after the protests turned violent.

"The darkness gave them, and us, cover".

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A police officer said forced closure of shops, and minor incidents of violence between traders and BJP supports were tricking in from different parts of the State and Thiruvananthapuram district.

The religious conflict has been fueling a political standoff between the far-left parties ruling Kerala and the right-wing nationalist BJP which holds power at the federal level.

Two women braved a centuries-old ban on entering a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kerala on Wednesday, sparking protests by conservative Hindu groups outraged by their visit.

State BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai alleged that the entry of the women shows that they have cheated and betrayed the Hindu devotees.

"Who took them to the temple just after the women's wall?".

In October, devotees clashed with police in a town near the temple leading to the arrest of more than 2,000 people.

On Tuesday, over 35 lakh women stood shoulder-to- shoulder across the national highways in Kerala, creating a 620 km-long human "wall" from the northern end of Kasaragod to the state's southern tip.

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Media reports said that some were heckled by right-wing activists. The pair attempted to access the temple in December but were prevented by "right wing Hindu protesters determined to uphold the ban". Kerala government was in urgency to implement the Supreme Court's order and were adamant to send women inside the temple.

Here follows some background on the temple and the landmark verdict.

Only those who have observed the vratha and carry the irrumude, a symbolic offering, can enter the main courtyard up 18 divine golden steps. He said that the women had gone to Sabarimala with the help of CPM leaders. For the first time in the history, the temple has been closed due to a breaking of tradition.

The reason for Ayyappa's refusal is because of his celibacy - one of the arguments against allowing women of menstruating age to enter.

The Supreme Court has agreed to re-examine its decision to lift the ban later this month in response to 49 petitions filed against it. Their entry at Sabarimala was taboo for generations and formalised by the Kerala High Court in 1991.

It was one of a string of recent decisions to have eaten away at some of India's traditions, including outlawing bans on gay sex and adultery a year ago.

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