February 2019 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

Three women in India overcame sometimes violent protests to enter a temple that had for centuries been declared off-limits to most members of that gender.

Two women entered Sabarimala temple early last month, and a third visited the structure a few days later. Their actions came in the wake of a ruling by the Indian Supreme Court, which last year struck down a policy that forbade women who were of an age at which they might be menstruating from entering the facility. The court ruled that all women must be permitted to worship at the temple in the southern state of Kerala.

Despite the court ruling, protestors blocked the entrance to the temple and prevented women from entering, sometimes threatening violence. The Washington Post reported that the first two women to get in – a university professor and a government employee – are both in their 40s. They walked a three-mile path to the temple starting at midnight, accompanied by four police officers. They were able to enter shortly before 4 a.m. Both have been threatened and are under police protection.