While women and girls will form one side of the wall, a corresponding wall of men who support renaissance values will be formed opposite the Women’s Wall.

Kerala gears up for massive Womens Wall event All you need to knowWomen's Wall Facebook page
news Sabarimala Monday, December 31, 2018 - 15:20

The Kerala government’s Women’s Wall event is set to take place from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, January 1. The event, a planned wall of women on National Highways spanning 620 kilometres, is meant to show Kerala’s commitment to renaissance values and improve the status of women in society. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also stated that the Women’s Wall event was necessitated by the strong opposition to the Supreme Court verdict allowing women entry into the Sabarimala temple. 

The event is organised by the ruling CPI(M), along with over 176 other socio-political organisations, including the CPI, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) and Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS). 

The numbers

The event’s executive planning committee has said that it will require the participation of 31 lakh women to see a seamless chain from Kasaragod to Vellayambalam in Thiruvananthapuram, and that it currently expects the participation of 50 lakh women. The SNDP is expected to bring in 6 lakh participants, while the KPMS will bring 5 lakh participants. 

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, CPI(M) Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan reiterated, “Those who oppose the Women's Wall are conservative people, and the Congress is aligning with such conservative people. Fifty lakh women will be take part in the event, and men will also join."

While women and girls will form one side of the wall, a corresponding wall of men who support renaissance values will be formed opposite the Women’s Wall. The participants will gather at appointed centres on Tuesday at 3 pm, and a rehearsal will be held at 3.30 pm, following which the Women’s Wall event will take place between 4 and 4.15 pm, with the participants making a pledge. The pledge reads, “We are taking the pledge that we will uphold Renaissance values, we will stand for equality for women, we resist the attempts to make Kerala a lunatic asylum, and we will fight for secularism.”

Different parties in organisations have been given the responsibility of populating and looking after the Wall in various districts. Of the 44 km stretch that the Wall plans to span in Thiruvananthapuram, the CPI(M) is in charge of ensuring that 31 km is filled, the CPI is entrusted with filling 11 km, while other parties have been allocated 2 km. Three lakh women are expected to participate in Ernakulam, Kollam and Kozhikode each, while an expected four lakh women will participate in Alappuzha, five lakh in Kannur, 1.8 lakh in Malappuram and one lakh in Kasargod. Labour and Excise Minister TP Ramakrishnan also told The Hindu that an ambulance would be posted every 5 km along the length of the Wall to deal with any emergency medical issues. 

Prominent personalities who will attend

The event will attended by over 200 notable personalities like Malayalam writer, literary critic and educationist M Leelavathy, writers P Vatsala and Khadeeja Mumtaz, athletes Mercy Kuttan, Preeja Sreedharan and boxer KV Lekha, and prominent individuals from the film industry, including Parvathy Thiruvoth, Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambeesan, Bina Paul and Geethu Mohandas.

Ministers and political leaders will also participate in the event from various districts. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and ministers Kadakampally Surendran and Thomas Isaac will participate from Thiruvananthapuram. Revenue Minister E Chandrashekaran and Health Minister KK Shylaja will participate from Kasargod, Minister for Industries and Sports EP Jayaraj and Minister for Ports and Museums Ramachandran Kadanapally will participate from Kannur, Transport Minister AK Saseendran and Labour and Excise Minister TP Ramakrishnan will participate from Kozhikode, Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel from Malappuram, Electricity Minister AK Balan from Shornur, Water Resources Minister K Krishnankutty from Pattambi, Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar and Education Minister C Raveendran from Thrissur, Electricity Minister MM Mani from Angamaly, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma from Kollam, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies P Thilothaman from Cherthala, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran from Allapuzha and Forest Minister K Raju will participate from Kayamkulam. 

The event will be presided over by three types of organising committees. While the event, as a whole, has an executive planning committee, each district also has an organising committee headed by the District Collector. The Committee for Protection of Renaissance Values, comprising various social organisations, and a committee comprising members of the LDF Women’s Wing will also be in charge of administration of the event. 

In the months preceding the event, the Women’s Wall had been mired in various controversies, with the Congress terming it a “communal wall” for having invited participation only from “progressive Hindu organisations”, a claim which the LDF government refuted. It was also criticised for using government funds by detractors who claimed that it was a political event by the CPI(M) and therefore should not use government funds, or mandate participation by women public servants. While government funds generated for the prevention of atrocities against women have been used to finance the event, women government employees are not mandated to attend. The Kerala Child Rights Commission also opposed a Kerala High Court order preventing children’s participation in the event.

You can listen to the theme song of the Women’s Wall event, composed by Mathew Itty with lyrics by Prabha Varma, here: 

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