New Delhi, January 4: With the protests over the entry of women of menstruating age in the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala Temple gaining momentum, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday foiled an attempt of Congress parliamentarian from Kerala to wear black armbands in Lok Sabha – in support of ‘Black Day’.
Hours after reports of two women of menstruating age entry in the inner sanctum surfaced, a Kerala Congress leader started distributing black bands to their colleagues so that they can mark their protest at the national level. But, soon Gandhi spotted him and asked not to proceed, saying the Congress stands for “gender equality and women’s rights”. Sabarimala Temple Row: 46-Year-Old Sri Lankan Woman Walks 18 ‘Holy Steps’ of Lord Ayyappa Temple, Denied Entry Into Inner Sanctum.
Sources in the party said, as reported by The Indian Express, “She told the MPs that they could continue their protests in Kerala as part of their local politics. But at the national level, the MPs should not protest against women entering the temple, because it would go against what the Congress stands for — gender equality and women rights.”
Congress currently has seven MPs from Kerala in the lower house of the parliament. Since the Supreme Court announced the women of all ages would be allowed to enter the shrine, Congress has been trying to maintain a balance on the issue. The party in the state had previously opposed to the CPI-led government’s support for the entry of women of all ages in the temple.
However, at the national level, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had publicly backed the entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala, stating Supreme Court order.