560 woman register to enter flashpoint Indian temple

A new standoff between Hindu traditionalists and Indian police over a flashpoint shrine is looming next week, with 560 women reportedly registering to visit the site when it reopens on November 17.

India’s Supreme Court in September ruled that all females should be allowed into the Sabarimala hilltop temple in the southern state of Kerala, and not just those under 10 or over 50 as before.

But when the temple reopened in mid-October, a handful of women who wanted to go were prevented by hardliners, who also threw stones at police and assaulted journalists.

Police later detained around 2,000 people. The protesters’ anger reflected an old but still prevalent view in some areas of India that connects menstruation with impurity.

The temple opens again on November 17 for a Hindu festival period lasting 41 days, and some 300,000 people have registered to visit — including some 560 woman, media reports said.

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