Indian women’s massive anti-sexism protest

This 1 January 2018 video from India says about itself:

The formation of the Kerala government’s Women’s Wall is underway today to counter forces against women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple. Over a million women were said to be in attendance and had formed a 620-km wall from north to south Kerala. #WomensWall

By Ben Chacko:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Millions join ‘women’s wall’ against oppression in Kerala

MILLIONS of women lined up in a “women’s wall” stretching almost 400 miles from Keralan capital Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in the north of the state to stand against the oppression of their sex today.

The wall, which saw women line roads and motorways across the Indian state make clenched-fist salutes and listen to speakers condemning sexism and discrimination, was organised by civil and religious organisations brought together by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which leads Kerala’s government.

The show of force comes after confrontations over women’s right to enter a temple in Sabarimala in the state. Upheld by India’s Supreme Court, women’s right to go inside has been defended by the Keralan government but women seeking to do so have come under attack by Hindu chauvinists and ministers from Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP have openly called on followers to defy the court’s ruling and prevent entry.

Keralan Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “Addressing women’s issues is part of the CPI-M’s class struggle. Such an initiative is required to protect the progressive traditions of the state” at a time when the BJP was threatening to “drag [India] back to the era of darkness.”

The party estimated the number of women participating at five million. Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja took her position as the “first link” in the chain at one end, while CPI-M politburo member Brinda Karat was the final link at the other. Ms Karat declared that Kerala’s women had “written history” and sent a powerful message to the whole of India.

At Chettukundu in Kasaragod women in the line were attacked by stone-throwing “Sangh Parivar goons”, the party reported. The term refers to a number of community organisations linked to the BJP, the most prominent of which is the party’s street fighter wing, the RSS.

The CPI-M said the attack exposed the “cowardice” and “isolation” of the BJP in Kerala and that the success of the wall meant “the divisive forces led by RSS-BJP have been defeated once again.”

Rights organisations regularly name India as the worst country in the world to be born female, citing widespread infanticide of baby girls, child slavery, domestic violence and a rape culture that is often encouraged by government ministers.

A woman shouts slogans against gender discrimination as they gather to form part of a hundreds kilometer long 'women's wall' in Thiruvananthapuram

RIOT AFTER WOMEN ENTER INDIAN TEMPLE The two women who broke with centuries of conservative taboo Wednesday to enter a temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala are now in hiding, after violent protests left at least one person dead. [CNN]

9 thoughts on “Indian women’s massive anti-sexism protest

  1. CHAUVINIST protesters blocked roads and pelted police with stones in Kerala today after police escorted two women to worship in the Sabarimala temple.

    The women would have been covered by a ban on women of menstruating age entering the temple that was overturned by India’s Supreme Court last September.

    Kerala’s Communist-led government’s determination to enforce the court ruling and allow women access has led to clashes with supporters of the Hindu nationalist BJP of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Keralan Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said it was police’s job to protect female worshippers from attack.

    The women’s visit comes a day after the CPI-M organised a “women’s wall” five million strong and nearly 400 miles long to take a stand for women’s rights. In Mumbai today, hundreds of women formed a human chain in solidarity with their Keralan sisters.

    Mr Vijayan praised the women’s wall for having won global attention and said it was “a landmark in the struggle to improve the social status of women.”

    He dismissed the suggestion that the wall was a form of “identity politics,” saying: “The fight against casteist forces and gender inequalities has been an integral part of class struggle for communists. We see women’s liberation as part of social liberation.”

    Mr Vijayan noted that the wall would not have been possible without active support from many religious organisations, including Hindu ones.

    But the temple wars dragged on, with right-wing Hindu groups calling for a strike in protest tomorrow.


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