Harassed, abused, forced into hiding: A woman’s ordeal for attempting Sabarimala trek

A video shows Bindu and her two friends, accompanied by police officers, running into a police van which was then violently attacked by protestors gathered there.
Harassed, abused, forced into hiding: A woman’s ordeal for attempting Sabarimala trek
Harassed, abused, forced into hiding: A woman’s ordeal for attempting Sabarimala trek
Written by :

Bindu Thankam Kalyani, a Dalit activist and teacher at the Medical College Campus Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode, attempted to enter the Sabarimala temple on Monday but was forced to turn back after angry protests. She was attacked by protesters along the route multiple times while she was attempting to approach the shrine on Monday and she was also attacked while she was trying to make her way home later that day.

Bindu started from Kozhikode to Erumeli, the first point of the Sabarimala trek after consulting with police officers. She went to the Erumeli police station on Tuesday to register as a devotee and sought police protection to go to the sanctum sanctorum. However, she was told that the situation had gotten out of hand and she would need to be taken away from Erumeli to a safer location. Protesters had already gathered outside the police station by then.

She and the two young men accompanying her were told by the police that they needed to be taken to a secret location, which they later discovered to be Mundakayam police station.

When the group reached Mundakayam police station at around 10.30 am on Monday, their location was quickly discovered by the media and in no time, protesters landed at the police station and began to threaten her.

A video posted on social media shows Bindu and her two friends, accompanied by two women police officers and three male officers, running into a police van which was then violently attacked by protestors gathered there.

They attempted to break into the van and when that proved unsuccessful, they tried to block its path by standing in front of it. One man even whipped off the lungi he was wearing while banging on the back of the van where Bindu was seated.

Bindu and her friends were then taken to Pamba forest police station. However, protesters managed to come there too after reports that she would soon attempt the trek up the hill.

Sensing the danger that the journey up the Sabarimala hill would pose, Bindu then told the police accompanying her that she had decided to go back. The police shifted her to a hostel nearby for the night, as the police deemed the situation too dangerous for her to make the journey home safe. Messages on social media alleged that Bindu's real name was Bindu Zachariah and that she was a naxal.

Bindu and her friends returned to Kozhikode at around 3 am on Tuesday and since protesters had gathered outside Bindu’s home, they made their way to a friend’s flat, thinking it would be safe.

“We left Muvatupuha police station at 4 am and reached my friend’s flat at Chalapuram. This morning, some BJP people came and spoke to the people at the building and forced the flat owners to tell us that we have to leave, since it is causing trouble for other residents and if we don’t leave, it would cause further problems. They came and caused a lot of trouble in the morning. We called the police, they came and then took us to another location. Now, I am at another friend’s house, I don’t know the exact location,” Bindu says in a video she uploaded on social media.

She was also reportedly asked by the landlord of her rented house to move out since the groups of protesters decided to camp outside her home.

Protesters had also gathered at the Medical College Campus Higher Secondary School, where she is employed as a teacher.

“Yesterday, they held a dharna at our school. The people of the school were very scared, and the principal has requested security deployment, asking ‘won’t it be a big problem when I come to the school?’ A teacher from the school called me and said I cannot work at the school, as it could cause problems to the teachers and students there. The two young people who accompanied me also cannot move about freely.”

Bindu is currently put up at a friend’s home at an undisclosed location.

Earlier, in a press conference, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the ‘Sangh Parivar’ for the violent protests that broke out at Nilakkal and Pamba, stating that members of the Sangh Parivar were against women’s entry and were present there only to ‘turn Sabarimala into a battle zone.

The Chief Minister went on to state that the details of the women who wished to enter Sabarimala were noted before the women began their journeys uphill, and that plans were hatched to attack the women’s homes much before.

“The movements of these women were being tracked by Sangh elements in various districts. We have intercepted audio messages where Sangh Parivar groups have told their people to dress up in black, carry the irumudikettu and come posing as Ayyappas to Sabarimala. The RSS has given leadership to this protest. Their intention was to transform a religious place into a battleground,” the Kerala CM added.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute