Thiruvananthapuram: Lakhs of women took part in the 620 km-long state-sponsored "Women's wall" campaign stretching from the northern tip of Kasaragod to the southern end on Tuesday, organised to uphold renaissance values.

The "Women's Wall" was conceived 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.

While health minister KK Shailaja led the chain at Kasaragod, senior CP(M) leader Brinda Karat was the person at the end of the chain in Thiruvananthapuram.


Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that government employees also took part in the initiative. All arrangements were made to avoid traffic snarls.

Though participated by a large number of women, the state-sponsored Women's Wall has had its share of controversies. Actress Manju Warrier, who is seen as the symbol of women's empowerment in Kerala had withdrawn her support. 

Earlier, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala was removed from the post of chief trustees of the women's wall organised by the Kerala government. Chennithala had earlier protested the decision to make him a part of the women's wall. As per reports, Ramesh Chennithala had called district collector S Suhas and informed him of his stand on the matter. Chennithala also said to media that it is not right to make him the chief trustee without his permission.

"I didn't feel like entering the temple while menstruating, so I don't wish to participate in the million women’s wall too and I feel the women's wall will be a failure," said Anjima Nadacherry, a Kannur native.

"I am not a Hindu, but I don't wish to hurt the feeling of others, so I also won't participate in women's wall," said Richu Jose, a student of Central University.

Schools in some districts have declared holiday in the afternoon while universities have postponed examinations which were to be held on Tuesday amid allegations of misuse of official machinery, which the LDF has denied.

The participants gathered at the designated centres on Tuesday at 3.30pm for rehearsals. The Wall was formed between 4pm and 4:15pm, with participants taking a pledge to uphold gender equality and renaissance values.

The Women's Wall was suggested at a meeting called by the Kerala government following the massive protests by right-wing parties and a section of devotees over the government's decision to implement the September 28 apex court order, allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at Sabarimala.

"The protests by communal forces against women's entry in Sabarimala had prompted the government and other progressive organisations to conceive the idea of a Women's Wall in the state," chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Though a controversy had erupted following reports that the government had set apart Rs 50 crore for the event, the chief minister had categorically denied it saying no government fund would be utilised for the same.

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

Leader of Opposition in the assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, described the initiative as a 'wall of contradiction', while UDF MLA MK Muneer has termed it as a 'communal' wall for inviting participation only from 'progressive Hindu organisations.'