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Two women below 50 claim they entered Sabarimala temple

Two women below 50 walked into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala before daybreak on Wednesday, becoming the first to do so since the Supreme Court ordered the end of a decades-old ban on women of menstrual age entering the shrine. Bindu and Kanaka Durga, both in their early 40s, entered the hilltop shrine early this morning around 3.45 am.

A video shows the women hurrying into the shrine, dressed in all-black and escorted by the police. Confirming their visit, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “It is a fact that the women entered the shrine. Police are bound to offer protection to anyone wanting to worship at the shrine.”

The women started the uphill trek to the temple around midnight, reached a little before 4 am and left after praying to Lord Ayyappa. There was no media glare and very few devotees were around at the time. The women were protected by a small group of policemen, both in uniform and plainclothes.

“I don’t think it is true…They might have done that in absolute secrecy. Once we know, we will take appropriate action,” said Rahul Easwar, activist and leader of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena.

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