Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan backed the women who entered the Sabarimala temple and stated that the women received police protection on their trek to the shrine
The two women in their 40s entered the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and offered prayers.
"Earlier, women were not able to enter the temple due to certain hurdles. They may have entered the shrine today because they would not have faced any issues. It is a fact that the women have entered Sabarimala. Police have given them security," Vijayan told media.
Despite the Supreme Court's verdict on September 28 last year, permitting women in the 10-50 age group, no children or young women in the 'barred' group were able to offer prayers at the shrine following frenzied protests by devotees and right wing outfits.
The two women, identified as Kanakadurga (42) and Bindu (42), wearing the traditional black dress, with their heads covered, climbed the hill shrine at 3.38 am on Wednesday.
The women trekked to the hill a day after the state-sponsored 620-km-long human wall of women was formed on Tuesday from Kasargod in the northern part of the state till the southernmost district of Thiruvananthapuram.
Following their entry, the chief priest decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the 'purification' ceremony.
Speaking to the media over telephone, Bindu said she along with Durga reached the Pamba base camp around 1.30 a.m. and along with a few police officers in civilian clothes went up the pathway.
"The government had assured us all help. We reached the base camp and went up the pathway and we had darshan at 3.30 a.m. We, however, did not climb the hallowed 18 steps, instead went through the way normally used by VIPs," said Bindu.
"We did not have any problems. Barring minor protests, there was no other issue," added Bindu.
Protests erupted in various parts of Kerala as a result of the women’s entry into the temple.
BJP workers waved black flags at Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran in Guruvayur where he had gone to attend a function.
Health minister KK Shylaja also had to face the ire of activists of the Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing at Kannur, who showed black flags, they said.
The protesters were removed by the police.
BJP workers also took out a protest march in the state capital. In Kasaragod, they blocked traffic on the national highway.
However many people have openly supported the women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple stating that it was a historic move for women’s rights. Many also reminded the public that this wasn’t the first time that women in the age group of 10-50 entered the temple.
Kerala’s Industries Minister EP Jayarajan said the tantri had no right to close the temple.
"This is a challenge to the judiciary. The government only did its role in upholding the Supreme Court directive," Jayarajan, considered the number two in the cabinet, told journalists.
"This is a victory for women's rights. Women have entered Sabarimala temple earlier too," he added.
Meanwhile, social media platforms like Twitter were flooded with various reactions on the news, some criticising the move while many others lauded the entry of women:
With inputs from agencies