Thiruvananthapuram: A 620-km long “women’s wall” that had the backing of the Kerala government was formed on Tuesday evening linking Kasargode in the north to Ayyanakali square near the Governor’s residence in Thiruvananthapuram, with lakhs taking part.
So massive was the response to the women’s chain that at some places two separate “walls” were formed to accommodate everyone.
Giving full support to the event was the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) which had vowed to gather five million women for the event.
Women from all walks of life stood on the side of the National Highway that runs from Kasargode to Thiruvananthapuram and took a pledge at 4 a.m. After standing for 15 minutes, the women dispersed.
Last month, amid the row over the Sabarimala pilgrimage, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent out invites to social groups and it was decided to form the “women wall” so that Kerala does not become “a lunatic asylum”.
The other objective of the event was to promote gender equality.
At the northern end, the first on the line was Health Minister K.K. Shailaja. At the extreme south was CPI-M politburo member Brinda Karat.
Standing besides Karat were the wives of CPI-M leaders Kamala Vijayan (Pinarayi Vijayan), Vinodhini Balakrishnan (CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan) and Vasumathi Achuthanandan (former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan).
At a few places in Kasargode, the police had to use force to chase away people who had come to disrupt the women’s wall. Women were seen running away and the attackers also took on the media personnel.
The CPI-M blamed the Sangh Parivar for the trouble.
Later, addressing a public meeting here, Karat congratulated the women of Kerala for creating history. “This wall is just not for Kerala but for all the women in the country.”