A day after she was thrown out of her marital home in Kerala’s Malappuram, Kanakadurga – one of the first women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala temple since the Supreme Court in September lifted the traditional ban on such women praying at the shrine – said on Wednesday that she would not apologise to anyone.
Her brother Bharath Bhushan reportedly asked her on Monday to publicly apologise to devotees of Ayyappa, Sabarimala’s principal deity, for defiling the temple if she wanted to be allowed to return home.
“I am not going to say sorry to anyone,” she told Scroll.in on Wednesday. “I have not committed any wrong by word or deed. I would like to reiterate that no one, including my brother and husband, has any right to stop me from entering my home.”
Kanakadurga, a civil servant, said she would fight her case legally. “My husband Krishnanunni also played a role in throwing me out,” she said. “But I will enter home with the court order. Till then I will stay at the One Stop Centre.”
One Stop Centres are an initiative of the state’s Social Justice Department that provide shelter to women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse. Kanakadurga was admitted to the One Stop Centre in Perinthalmanna, 20 km southeast of district headquarters of Malappuram, on Monday.
Kanakadurga, 41, and her friend Bindu Ammini, 42, made history on January 2 when they became the first women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala temple since the Supreme Court’s order.
Kanakadurga works as a manager with the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation. She got acquainted with Bindu through a Facebook page called Navothana Keralam Sabarimalayilekku or Renaissance Kerala to Sabarimala. The page is an online meeting place for women of all ages who wish to go to Sabarimala.
Following the entry of the two women into the shrine, Kerala witnessed unprecedented violence for three continuous days. Angry members of Hindutva outfits attacked police and hurled crude bombs at offices and houses of political opponents, alleging that the entry of the women was made possible by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front government.
The temple conducted a purification ritual on January 3.
The women subsequently decided to stay in hiding, away from their homes, until tempers settled. They returned home on January 15.