‘Must atone for sins’: Family of woman who made it to Sabarimala throws her out
One of the two women, who became the first in menstruating age to offer prayers in centuries at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, was sent to a government-run home on Tuesday after her in-laws refused to let her enter their house.
Kanakadurga, a mother of two, had angered her family after they said she kept them in the dark about her plan to trek to the temple. According to them, she left home in Areekkode of Malappuram district on December 22, saying she wanted to attend a meeting in the state capital.
Thirty-nine-year-old Kanakadurga and Bindu Ammini, 40, had tried to enter the temple on December 24 but were forced to retreat after devotees protested. After their failed attempt both refused to return home and were under police protection. They finally made it to the temple on January 2.
Kanakadurga landed in a hospital after she was allegedly attacked by her mother-in-law with a wooden plank after she returned home on January 15 after going into hiding. The mother-in-law was also admitted in a hospital at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district after she complained she was manhandled by Kanakadurga, a civil servant.
Though police and district officials tried their best to convince her family, they refused to budge saying she will be taken back only after tendering a public apology to devotees and the Hindu community.
The orthodox Nair family said she has brought enough shame to the community and hurt sentiments of lakhs of devotees and they won’t accept her without “atoning for her sin.” Her husband is a government employee.
“I was told her husband locked the house and shifted to a relative’s place so as to avoid her. She is presently in a government-run home in Perninthalamanna. We will move the court against her relatives’ move,” Ammini, a guest lecturer with Kannur University who accompanied Kanakadurga to the Lord Ayyappa shrine, said.
She said Kanakadurga’s relatives’ bid to pin her down won’t work and they will deal with them legally. “I talked to her this morning also. She is in high spirits. Some forces are pressuring her family but they won’t succeed,” she said.
Bindu said she did not face any such problem because her husband and her daughter fully supported her.
While participating at the Ayyappa devotees conclave in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday Kanakadurga’s brother Bharat Bhushan had said his family had also disowned her and will accept her only after she tenders a public apology. Bhushan is a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Following threats by right-wing groups, both the women went into hiding after entering the hill shrine. Their entry sparked widespread protests and a day-long strike in Kerala which turned violent at many places. Police arrested more than 7,000 people, mostly members of the RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Last week, the Supreme Court had directed the state government to provide round-the-clock protection to both the women after they had petitioned the top court seeking security fearing for their lives.
The temple has witnessed violent incidents since the top court’s verdict on September 28 last year, which threw open temple doors for women of all ages. The tense situation in the temple and its base camps affected both footfall and revenue.
According to the Travancore Devaswom Board, which controls the temple, there was a 30% dip in the numbers of pilgrims and its revenue decreased by Rs 96.55 crore compared to the previous season. After the two-month annual pilgrimage season, the temple was closed on Sunday.