Kerala Readies for 620-km-long 'Women's Wall' Today. Here’s All You Need to Know
The wall will be formed between 4 and 4.15pm, with participants taking a pledge to uphold gender equality and renaissance values.
Thiruvananthapuram: Lakhs of women from across Kerala are expected to form a 620km state-sponsored ‘Women's Wall’ on Tuesday to uphold gender equality and renaissance values, in the backdrop of frenzied protests in Sabarimala after the ruling LDF decided to implement the Supreme Court verdict, allowing all women to pray at the Ayyappa shrine. The women will form the wall from Kasargod in northern Kerala to the southernmost district of Thiruvananthapuram.
According to available figures, about 50 lakh women are expected to participate in the event, with men expressing their solidarity with the movement from the periphery.
The Wall is being pitched as a collective effort to push for gender justice, with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan calling it a collective voice of dissent against those opposing the Sabarimala verdict. The Supreme Court had allowed women of menstruating age to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine, inviting the wrath of devotees who blocked the passage of women trying to enter the temple.
The main organiser of the event is the CPI (M), supported by 176 other organisations, including CPI and community collectives such as Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) — comprising the backward community of Ezhavas and Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS) — an outfit of Pulayas in the Scheduled Caste, the wall has been mired in controversies of sorts.
The government sought support from employees in government and other institutions to take part in the event. Schools in the districts of Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargod have declared a holiday in the afternoon to avoid a likely traffic blockade.
Meanwhile, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court passed a verdict prohibiting inclusion of children below the age of 18 in the event. Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson P Suresh expressed his dissatisfaction with the verdict and a public interest litigation was soon moved by an Ernakulam resident for contempt of court.
In Kasargod, Health Minister KK Shylaja leads the chain, while CPM leader Brinda Karat will head the initiative in Thiruvananthapuram. There will be a trial run from 3.45pm before the main event from 4-4.15pm.
Before the Women’s Wall, an event called Ayyappa Jyothi was organised on December 26 last year under the aegis of the RSS and was backed by the upper-caste division of the Nair Service Society (NSS), and saw several women in attendance. The Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BJDS), an Ezhava political ally of the BJP that stayed away from participating in Ayyappa Jyothi, has given silent approval to its members to take part in the Women’s Wall.
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