Sending a strong message, over 35 lakh women across the 14 districts formed a 620 km-long human ‘wall’ in Kerala. The gathering was part of ‘vanitha mathil’ (women’s wall programme) which was organised by CPI(M)-led Left government in the state. The wall started by Minister for Health and Family Welfare KK Shailaja in Kasaragod district and it culminated with Politburo member and senior CPM leader Brinda Karat standing as the final Thiruvananthapuram district.
The ‘Women’s wall’ was planned in the backdrop of frenzied protests witnessed in the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala after the CPI(M)-led LDF government decided to implement the Supreme Court verdict, allowing all women to pray at the Ayyappa shrine. Universal Record Forum (URF) termed the the human wall as the “longest women’s wall in the world” with participation of over 35 lakh women. However, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan claimed 55 lakh women lined up for the ‘wall’.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, other ministers and Communist veteran V S Achuthanandan were among those who were present at the event. The wall has become a movement against gender discrimination faced by women and to protect their Constitutional rights, the Chief Minister said. The initiative also witnessed a group of the Jacobite faction of the Christian community lining up in support of the wall along with members of the Muslim community.
Congress, BJP slam the wall
The principal Opposition party Congress did not back the initiative. It said “Kerala society has dismissed the government’s much-hyped event.” Kerala BJP said the event was a “total failure” and waste of government funds and machinery. The influential Nair Service Society (NSS) has maintained distance from the event. The chief of NSS G Sukumaran Nair said ‘God’s Own Country’ will turn into ‘Devil’s Own Country’ after formation of such walls.