One of two women who prayed inside a Hindu temple traditionally barred to women of "menstruating age" has suffered greatly for it. Kanakadurga, 39, and Bindu Ammini, 40, gained entry to the Sabarimala shrine in India's Kerala state on Jan. 2, but were forced into hiding as violent protests erupted. Demonstrators, backed by temple officials, had been trying to keep women out even months after India's supreme court struck down the ban on women aged 10 to 50, per the Guardian. Ammini later returned to her teaching post at a law college with support from students, colleagues, and family members. When Kanakadurga returned home on Jan. 15, however, her mother-in-law allegedly beat her with a wood plank, reports the BBC. After almost a week in the hospital, she returned home again on Monday to find she was locked out.
At a police station, husband Krishnan Unni said "he was not willing to take her home, while she kept insisting that she would go wherever he went," an official says. As the Times of India reports, Kanakadurga's brother has also barred her from her ancestral home. A social worker tells the BBC that Kanakadurga will now "petition the court for permission to enter her house." Per the Hindustan Times, her husband's family will only accept a public apology "atoning for her sin." The Sabarimala shrine is dedicated to a deity who was traditionally celibate, and devotees believe he wanted women kept out. They argue the court shouldn't intervene in religious matters. Even so, Kanakadurga, staying at a government home for women, is in "high spirits," Ammini tells the Hindustan Times. "Some forces are pressuring her family but they won't succeed," she says. (Read more India stories.)