We have seen so much in the last few months, that nothing surprises us anymore. While we are still not done battling misogyny and the Me Too movement is here to stay, here’s another brutal incident related to the Sabarimala Temple row that has just surfaced. One of the women who entered Sabarimala, Kanaka Durga, was physically abused by her mother-in-law brutally after she returned home.
As per reports, when Durga returned home on Tuesday, her mother-in-law stopped her from entering the house–but Durga somehow got in, which led to a verbal spat between the two of them. As a result, Durga’s mother-in-law got furious, and hit her on the head. Soon after, Durga was rushed to the hospital by the police. Durga suffered and sustained a major head injury, and is now undergoing further tests at a hospital in Perinthalmanna. Durga along with Bindu Ammini made history by becoming the first women below 50 to have entered the premises of the hilltop shrine, Sabarimala, in a very long time. A century, to be precise.
Before they returned home, the two were kept safe by the authorities in an undisclosed location in Kochi. In a statement, Bindu had said, “I always say that I trust the police persons, the state government of Kerala and also our democratic society of Kerala.”
According to a leading media outlet, Perinthalmanna police made this statement: “There was a verbal fight between Kanaka and her mother-in-law, as the latter opposed Kanaka coming back to home. She has been admitted to hospital and the Sub Inspector is recording her statement (sic).”
Further, the man who helped Durga and Bindu find a safe roof claimed: “Her mother-in-law was against her going to the temple. So when she was back home she didn’t allow her to enter the house and beat her with a wood rod. Kanaka is admitted to a hospital in Perinthalmanna. She was hemorrhaging.”
All said and done, we can’t ignore the fact that we live in a patriarchal society. As if being suppressed by men was not enough, we now have women suppressing women. In a society full of misogyny and gender bias, a woman supporting another woman is all we need. In the constant rage of dividing the country based on religion, this incident raised major concerns on gender equality too. It’s not just limited to the Sabarimala Temple–there are regions in India where women on their periods are still prohibited from entering the puja ghar at their homes. The Supreme Court of India may have lifted a century-old ban on women of menstruating age from entering the temple premises at Sabarimala; but clearly, the ban still exists in people’s minds.