After getting attacked with pepper spray outside a police commissionerate when she had gone to secure permission to visit the Sabarimala temple for the second time this year, Bindhu Ammini has now moved the Supreme Court on Monday. Through the petition filed, Ammini has sought the apex court to issue directives to the Kerala government to ensure safe passage for all women to visit the shrine irrespective of their age or religion.
In a conversation with SheThePeople.TV, Bindhu tells why she moved the SC and what really went down when she was attacked by the alleged Hindu outfit leader, Sreenath Padmanabhan right outside the police station. “Women being attacked in public places including in the Sabarimala route by the public is a huge issue. Here the thing is that these Sangh Parivaar group are constantly attacking women wanting to visit the temple. They are not just attacking us in public places but also on social media as one can easily find out that most of these people belong to the Sangh or are doing it through fake IDs,” says Ammini.
She has now moved the SC for her protection and also for directives to be given to the state of Kerala.
Ammini through her plea wants the SC to bring about provisions to control physical and virtual attacks against women wanting to visit the Sabarimala temple. Talking about the government’s role in protecting women she said, “They don’t protect women at all, in fact they do everything in their power to protect the perpetrators. The way the man who attacked me has been released on bail and appropriate sections were not even filed against him in the complaint shows just that.”
She recounted the attack and said that she had gone to the police station to seek protection as she wanted to trek to the Sabarimala temple again with a women’s group led by Trupti Desai. “But the police denied protection to me. At that time, I tried to enter the police station but that man unexpectedly attacked me,” she said adding that she got to know the perpetrator through social media that he is a leader of a Hindu rashtra organisation.
“He knew that I am a Dalit woman and so how could I climb to the temple. When the attack happened, the police didn’t help for the first 15-20 minutes as I cried for help. When it came to registering complaint against the man, the police only charged him with Section 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt to a person by using weapons) of the Indian Penal Code as it is a bailable offence. They neglected Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and the SC/ST act (Prevention of Atrocities) which are non-bailable offences.
In addition, they also kept me in detention for a short duration in a separate room in the hospital and did not allow me to talk to any of my family members, friends, lawyer etc. for a whole day,” says Bindhu.
She has now moved the SC for her protection and also for directives to be given to the state of Kerala. On asking if SC’s acceptance of review petition of the Sabarimala verdict of 2018 impacts her decision in anyway, she is confident that the 2018 landmark verdict that allowed women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala temple, will stay. “I am completely in favour of the decision of the judiciary,” but at the same time, I want the court to ensure that the Kerala government spread awareness and propogate its verdict that it has allowed women to enter Sabarimala.
“They don’t protect women at all, in fact they do everything in their power to protect the perpetrators. The way the man who attacked me has been released on bail and appropriate sections were not even filed against him in the complaint shows just that.”
Bindhu trekked to Sabarimala earlier this year as she became one of the two women who could achieve the feat after the SC allowed women’s entry in the temple. While a lot of women including Kanakadurga and Rehana Fathima, who tried to enter the temple have complained that their lives have been severely impacted by it, Bindhu says that her personal life is not impacted at all. “Only the media tries to portray that my life has changed but my personal life remains unaffected. However, yes these attacks have happened with me since I trekked to Sabarimala temple.”
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