Sabarimala temple in India

A temple in southern India is set to open its doors to females of menstruating age following a ruling by the country’s top court.

Since a state court ruling in 1991, the centuries-old temple has barred women and girls ages 10 to 50 from entering.

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India’s Supreme Court lifted the ban last month, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender.

Temple management and the protesters argue that the celibate nature of the temple’s presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is protected by India’s constitution.

Some religious figures consider menstruating women to be impure.

Over 1,000 police officers cleared protesters from the vicinity of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala state on Wednesday, hours before the temple’s doors were to open to females ages 10 to 50, said police officer Manoj Abraham.

But the protesters bullied and attacked some devotees and journalists elsewhere.