Hugh Tomlinson for The Times writes:
Women attempting to enter one of India’s holiest Hindu temples for the first time thanks to a court order were driven back by a mob this morning while hardliners pelted police with stones as tensions continued to rise over the judicial decision.
“We are ready to die . . . Come what may, we will not allow women to enter Sabarimala,” said P Ratnamma, a woman leading a group of female protestors. Like many at the site, she has threatened to kill herself at the temple gates if women are allowed inside.
Hindus consider menstruating women “unclean” and they are commonly barred from religious sites and rituals. The ban on women entering Sabarimala is cherished because the ruling deity there, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be celibate.
The Supreme Court removed the ban last month. “Religion cannot be the cover to deny women right to worship,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said in his last major judgment before retiring. “To treat women as children of a lesser god is to blink at constitutional morality.”