Estimates indicate that between three and 5 million women formed a wall across Kerala to protect Kerala’s renaissance values and for women’s empowerment. The women stood shoulder to shoulder across Kerala and formed a 620 km “wall” from Thiruvananthapuram to the northern district of Kasaragod which was organised against the backdrop of the Supreme Court verdict on the entry of menstruating women into the Sabarimala temple.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the wall was to save Kerala being ‘dragged back into the era of darkness’ and saw a massive participation cutting across class/caste/religious barriers. Expressing solidarity, thousands of men also lined up in parallel forming a second human ‘wall’. The wall was opposed by BJP and other Hindutva organisations.
Sukumaran Nair, general secretary of the Nair Service Society (NSS) said the ‘vanitha mathil’ or women’s wall will turn Kerala into ‘Devil’s country’ and that the LDF government has employed double standards on the issue. The NSS is opposing the entry of women devotees into the Sabarimala temple tooth and nail.
The decision to form the wall was taken earlier in December in a meeting of various organisations which played a role in the historic Kerala renaissance movement, when women’s entry into Sabarimala, after the historical Supreme Court verdict, was stonewalled by right wing Hindutva organisations and the upper caste Hindus of Kerala.
Women who tried to enter the shrine were physically attacked and even journalists covering the issue were attacked.
This article is a slightly edited version of this article found on our partner’s site.