‘Atone for your sins’: Woman who entered Sabarimala thrown out by husband, in-laws

A 39-year-old woman, one of the two females who became the first in menstruating age to offer prayers in centuries at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, was not allowed to enter her in-laws’ house on Tuesday. She was sent to a government-run home.

The incident occurred nearly a week after Kanakadurga’s mother-in-law allegedly hit her with a wooden plank, following which she had to be admitted to the Kozhikode Medical College. 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.

Kanakadurga has allegedly filed a complaint with the District Violence Protection Officer after her in-laws locked her out of the house.

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, 39, and Bindu Ammini, 40

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.

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 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.

Sabarimala has been the subject of intense controversy since September 28 last year, when the Supreme Court junked an age-old ban on women between 10 and 50 years entering the hill shrine. While right-wing activists maintained that courts do not have jurisdiction over religious beliefs, the Kerala government vowed to uphold the verdict.