Kerala’s Women’s Wall that was a show of feminist strength

The Sabarimala shrine located northeast of Pathanamthitta in a tiger reserve is dedicated to the Hindu deity Ayyappa

"Such an initiative (women's wall) is required to protect the renaissance tradition of the state".

Though the 620-km-long women wall was organised against the backdrop of growing protests in Sabarimala hill temple after the ruling Left Front government chose to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all ages to worship at the temple, it did not find any mention in the pledge.

Women, who have agreed to take part in the event, will begin assembling by the side of the national highways across all 14 districts by the afternoon.

Health minister K K Shailaja led the "Women's Wall" at Kasaragod and Karat was the last person at the end at Vellayambalam.

Preparations are nearly over as state ministers and district collectors are in charge to make the initiative a big success and all efforts are being made to streamline any hiccups. "Some forces are out to push the state again to the dark era but women won't allow this", said Brinda Karat while addressing a public meeting after the wall was formed.

The participants would gather at the designated centers on Tuesday at 3.30 PM, when a rehearsal would be held. Explaining the aim of forming a women's wall, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Monday said, "The CPI (M) considered addressing women's issues as part of the party's class struggle".

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The "Women's Wall" rally on Tuesday was backed by the communist government in Kerala state, where the court order on the Sabarimala temple had triggered weeks of protests by opponents and supporters of the ban.

Besides coalition partners of the ruling LDF, 176 socio-cultural bodies also participated in the event.

Over 1.25 lakh volunters of the Kudambashree Mission, would also be participating.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had questioned the government over inviting only Hindu organisations, to which Vijayan had stated that organisations of minority communities were not called to prevent the BJP from using it against the government. But the Nair Service Society, a body of upper caste Nairs, kept away from the function.

To counter the Women's wall, thousands of volunteers of Sabarimala Karma Samithi and other right wing groups, BJP and RSS and NSS had lit Ayyappa Jyothies (lighting of sacred lamps) across the state on December 26.

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