NEW DELHI: Supreme Court on Friday will hear the joint pleas of Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, who had entered the Sabarimala Temple on January 2, seeking round the clock police protection.
The duo, who trekked the Sabarimala hill, are both residents of Kannur district. Their ascent to the holy hill early was stopped midway by a group of protesters opposing the entry of women into the Lord Ayyappa temple, police said. They were spotted with 'Irumudikettu' (offerings to Lord Ayyappa) by the demonstrators.
"They were stopped at Neelimala (en route Sabarimala). They were brought down after protests broke out. After taking them down to Pamba, they were moved to Erumeli at around 7 AM," police said.
TV channels reported that both women sat on an indefinite fast demanding that they be allowed to enter the shrine.
Durga was later allegedly assaulted by her mother-in-law. She filed a police complaint stating that her mother-in-law thrashed her with a stick after Kanaka came back home from the temple visit. The case has reportedly been registered under Section 341 and Section 324 of the Indian Penal Code IPC.
Traditionally, girls and women in the menstruating age group of 10-50 years were barred from offering prayers at the shrine, the presiding deity of which is "Naishtika Brahamachari" (perennial celebate). In 2018, the Supreme Court removed the age barrier, allowing women of all ages to enter the temple.
Following their entry, the head priest decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the "purification" ritual, which used to be carried out during the time of the violation of temple customs.