Kerala remains on the boil with protests across the state after two women under the age of 50 entered the Sanctum sanctorum of the Sabrimala shrine. A dawn-to-dusk 12-hour hartal called by Sabarimala Karma Samithi in protest against the entry of the two women into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa turned violent in several places. Shops were closed and public transport remained off the roads in capital Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Pandalam and Patahnmittha.
In Thrissur, 3 BJP workers sustained stab injuries in clashes. About 400 protesters, including some women, took to the streets of Kochi. In Kozhikode, protesters blocked vehicles and burnt tyres in the morning. Protestors and the police clashed in Thiruvanthapuram.
A 55-year-old man, who was seriously injured in stone throwing at Pandalam, died late Wednesday night. Various universities, including Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi, Calicut and Kannur postponed their examinations scheduled for Thursday. BJP is supporting the Bandh and the Congress led UDF is observing a black day in protest.
According to reports so far, 79 buses have been damaged in the violence in Kerala. several media persons, women as well as over 30 police personnel have been injured. Several arrests have also been made since Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came down heavily on the chief priest’s action of closing the temple for purification ceremony, Vijayan said this was against the apex court’s verdict. He said that his government provided security to Kanakdurga and Bindu when they asked for it.
In the Sabarimala temple issue it is the government’s responsibility to give protection to women. The government has fulfilled this constitutional responsibility.
In another development, the Supreme Court has refused to accord urgent hearing to a contempt petition moved by a lawyers’ group against Sabarimala temple authorities for closing the shrine after two women entered it. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said that the contempt petition will be heard along with the pending review petitions against the apex court verdict which allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple.