FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Hindu worshippers stand in queues outside the Sabarimala temple, one of the world's largest Hindu pilgrimage sites, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. India's ruling party and the main opposition are both supporting a protest to keep females of menstruating age from entering the temple, in what some political observers say is a bid to shore up votes ahead of next year's general election. The country's Supreme Court had on Sept. 28, 2018, lifted the temple's ban on women of menstruating age, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. (AP Photo/ Hareesh Kumar A S, File)

Indian temple priests turn back women, defying court ruling

October 19, 2018 - 1:44 am

NEW DELHI (AP) — Dozens of Hindu priests have joined conservative protesters to block women of menstruating age from one of the world's largest Hindu pilgrimage sites, defying a ruling from India's top court to let them enter.

The priests on Friday threatened to stop rituals and prayers in hillock Sabarimala temple in southern Kerala state if women ages 10-50 tried to enter the shrine.

Two young women, a journalist and an activist, were forced to turn back after they had reached the temple precincts under a heavy police escort.

Hundreds of protesters have blocked the entry of women of menstruating age since the temple reopened on Wednesday after the Supreme Court's ruling three weeks ago holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender.

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