“Sabarimala discriminates against women on a public health issue”: Nikita Azad

As the arguments on the long-contested Sabarimala case concludes with the judgment being reserved, The Leaflet speaks to activist Nikita Azad, who along with Sukhjeet Singh, filed an intervention in the above-mentioned case.

In 2015, Nikita Azad addressed an open letter to Prayar Gopalakrishnan — president of the Travancore Devaswom Board — against his statement of installing scanners to ascertain menstruating women do not enter the temple. Subsequently, she launched a campaign “Happy to Bleed” which questioned menstrual taboos.

Importantly, she points out that menstruation-related taboos are not just about gender discrimination but a public health issue and restriction of access to public spaces for women. The silence around menstruation affects the health of the women. In a survey conducted by her team, it was found that 88% of the women still use cloth, ash and rags when it comes to menstrual hygiene. They still don’t have access to sanitary pads which can have an adverse implication on their health.