Millions of Indian Women Form Chain

NEW DELHI (AP) --- Millions of women have formed a chain across a southern Indian state to support gender parity, amid protests by Hindu priests and conservatives against women of menstruating age worshipping at one of the world's largest Hindu pilgrimage sites.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), the ruling party in Kerala state, says Tuesday's protest drew some 5.5 million women.

The protest was called by the state government after demonstrators blocked women from entering the centuries-old Sabarimala temple. The women were being blocked despite India's Supreme Court in September lifting a ban that had prevented females aged 10 to 50 from worshipping at the temple. The ban was informal for many years, and became law in 1972.