Woman Who Entered Sabarimala Hit By Mother-In-Law, In Hospital: Sources

Woman Who Entered Sabarimala Hit By Mother-In-Law, In Hospital: Sources

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One of the two women who walked into Kerala's Sabarimala earlier this month and became the first to defy the temple's ban on women of menstrual age - or between 10 and 50 - is in hospital after being attacked allegedly by her mother-in-law, say sources.

Kanaka Durga, 39, had returned home this morning after nearly two weeks in hiding because of threats by right-wing protesters. Sources say she was hit on her head by her mother-in-law. She is reportedly stable and has been referred for further tests in the hospital.

Kanaka Durga, along with 40-year-old Bindu Ammini, made history by becoming the first women below 50 in decades to enter the hilltop shrine. For the past 13 days, they had been staying in an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Kochi.

The temple has been the site of tension since the Supreme Court ruled on September 28 to end the age restriction on women. The court order has not been accepted by the devotees and protesters who believe women should not be allowed near the shrine's deity, Lord Ayyappa.

Since the court order, all attempts by women to visit the shrine were blocked by thousands of devotees - until the two women entered the shrine before dawn on January 2, escorted by policemen.

Kanaka Durga is a government employee and Bindu Ammini is a law lecturer at Kerala's Kannur University.

"I knew my life will be in danger but I still wanted to go into the temple. We are proud that we have made it easier for women who want to go to Sabarimala now," Kanaka Durga had told NDTV after her daring visit.

"It's about devotion but it's also about gender equality," she said, admitting that her family had strongly opposed her Sabarimala visit.

She said "a lot of people" had tried to dissuade her from making the journey, including police officers and friends.

After their visit, there were widespread protests in Kerala and a day-long strike led by right-wing groups and in part by members of the BJP and the Congress.