Sabarimala temple situation today: State-wide shutdown called in Kerala; buses vandalised, policemen injured

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New Delhi | Published: January 3, 2019 8:04:06 AM

Sabarimala temple situation today: The women, identified as Kanakadurga and Bindu entered the temple at 3:38 am.

KERALA SABARIMALA TEMPLESabarimala temple situation today: Later the state secretariat turned into a battleground as the ruling CPI(M) and workers of the BJP clashed

Sabarimala temple situation today: Tension has started brewing in Kerala surrounding Sabarimala temple. Protests broke out after two women, in their 40s, entered the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa. Theyb were the first women of of menstruating age group to step into the hill shrine after Supreme Court lifted centuries-old tradition. However, this has angered Hindutva right groups and state-wide shutdown has been called.

Violent clashes between CPIM and BJP activists: A group of women reportedly led by BJP Mahila Morcha protested in front of state-secretariat and demanded meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Later the state secretariat turned into a battleground as the ruling CPI(M) and workers of the BJP clashed, pelting each other with stones. Police had to use water canons and burst teargas shells to disperse the protesters. CM Vijayan’s effigy was burnt at Malappuram and four activists of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha were arrested when they forced their way close to the chief minister’s office in the secretariat complex.

Temple shut for ‘purification’: The women, identified as Kanakadurga and Bindu entered the temple at 3:38 am. The duo, draped in black and their faces covered in veils. Irked by this, the temple authorities and the head priest ordered devotees out of the premises and closing doors to the sanctum sanctorum. He performed a “purification” ritual for an hour before the doors were opened again. The women were whisked away from the temple by police soon after ‘darshan’. They were brought to Pathanamthitta from where they left for an undisclosed destination, officials said.

Buses vandalised, policemen injured: State-owned KSRTC buses were damaged at Konni and Kozhencherry in Pathanamthitta district where the temple is located besides several other places. Devaswom Board offices attached to temples across the state were also locked up. Several policemen were injured in the violence, according to reports. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation-run facility on the arterial Greams Road in Chennai was attacked, according to a police official.

Both Congress and the BJP have lashed out at the CPI(M)-led LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after two women in their 40s entered the entered the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

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