"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
A teary-eyed woman journalist’s photographs and videos during the Sabarimala protests have gone viral. The woman, in tears, is seen trying her best to shoot the protests that have been going on for days now.
Amid widespread protest over women of the menstruating age trying to enter the temple that has traditionally banned the same, Shajila Ali Fathim can be seen holding up her camera and trying to shoot the protests in Thiruvananthapuram despite being in tears. Fathim works with Kairali TV as a cameraperson, and was repeatedly assaulted and abused by BJP workers who were protesting after two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, entered the temple early in the morning of January 2. A tweet by ANI talks about the two women entering the temple.
The Supreme Court’s decision to lift restrictions for women entering Central Kerala’s popular Sabarimala temple has caused the state to get divided by supporters on either side. The blazing issue for the past months has witnessed several men and women participating in street-protests and prayer meetings by Lord Ayyappa’s devotees. Lord Ayyappa is the presiding God in the temple.
Sabarimala Karma Samithi, which is an umbrella organisation of pro-Hindutva groups and the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP), called for protests and a shutdown. The state has been forced on its knees with several protesters boiling over the fact that women are trying to enter Sabarimala. Kerala Governor P Sathasivam asked the state government to provide a report on the law and order situation.
Life in the state was paralysed following the BJP and the Sabarimala Action Council calling the dawn-to-dusk hartal. With BJP activists and the action council blocking roads in rural areas and cities, vehicular traffic was affected.
On January 3, several journalists staged protest against the attack and abuse they have been subjected to since the previous day. At several places, the supporters of the strike clashed with ruling CPI(M) activists and police, reported India Today.
In another incident, a clash between workers of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and BJP activists saw three of the BJP activists stabbed. A 55-year-old man also died after being seriously injured by stones hurled by CPI(M) workers during protests.
At various places in Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram, police used water cannons and batons to bring the protests under control. Shops, government buildings and offices were vandalised. In some places, buses and police vehicles were attacked.
A CPI(M)-managed local beedi manufacturing unit in Kannur district’s Thalassery saw a crude bomb hurled at it, which did not explode, a report by India Today said. Officers also said that a second crude bomb was thrown at Nedumangadu police station.
Several protesters, including ten right-wing activists, were arrested in connection with the violence.
These are not the first incidents of violence, but it began long back following the Apex’s Court’s verdict. Violent scenes which had occurred at the base camp Nilackal left several people bleeding and injured with protesters trying to block women’s entry into the temple. Many media personnel, including women journalists from national news channels, had been attacked by the angry mob. Vehicles had checked by protesters to ensure women were not inside.
The Supreme Court’s positive decision to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple has led to a new beginning. Age-old practices and customs which bear no meaning should have no existence in society. Orthodox beliefs which deprive women of their basic rights should be protested against.
Till now, several people including media personnel have been attacked savagely. Attackers who have taken law into their own hands should be punished.
Despite years of education teaching us to respect women and believe in equality, people’s orthodox mentality does not seem to have changed after all. All these violence points at the fact that let alone equality, people still do not understand how groundless it is even to believe that menstruation is a taboo. The Logical Indian urges authorities to look into the matter and provide justice to the victims.
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