NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Two women defied a centuries-old ban on entering a Hindu temple in Kerala in the early hours of Wednesday, the state’s chief minister said, raising fears of a backlash from conservative Hindu groups.
A video from a local police official posted online by Reuters partner ANI on Wednesday showed two women inside the temple with their heads covered.
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s chief minister, said in a televised news conference that the two women, who had previously tried but failed to enter the temple because their way was blocked by devotees, faced no obstruction on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear how the women managed to avoid devotees guarding the temple on this occasion.
Last year, violent protests broken out in the state after India’s top court in September ordered the authorities to lift a ban on women or girls of menstruating age – between 10 and 50 – from entering the temple, which draws millions of worshippers a year.
Reporting by Jose Devasia; Editing by Martin Howell