‘Samam’ seeks gender equality at pilgrim spots


Even as the Save Sabarimala protest against the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple draws in a large number of women, a counter-movement is taking shape, comprising women who want to pray at the shrine.

‘Samam’ (equal) was formed in Thiruvanathapuram on Tuesday to raise the issue of gender equality in pilgrim centres. Its founders, led by academic Meera Velayudhan, met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday and handed over a representation, asking the government to implement the verdict and provide protection to women who want to do the pilgrimage.

Ms. Meera Velayudhan said that only one kind of opinion was being projected in the State’s public sphere after the verdict. “Different opinions exist on the issue. Our aim with ‘Samam’ is to bring about a dialogue on the constitutional rights and gender equality. Now, a violent environment is being built, wherein the debate disappears. The government can implement the verdict if it has the political will,” she said.

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