Kerala Hartal turns violent as Hindu outfits force shut shops and attack the public over Women’s Sabarimala entry

Violence was reported from different parts of the state during the state-wide dawn to dusk hartal called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi. Agitating AKS workers damaged shops which were open as part of a decision by the traders’ body to defy the hartal call.

KSRTC has stopped services after its buses were pelted with stones in various districts. In Wayanad, police arrested protestors who tried to forcefully close shops. Tension prevailed at the SM Street in Kozhikode after the BJP workers and DYFI workers clashed.

Meanwhile, police have arrested two CPM workers in connection with the death of a BJP worker who was stone pelted at Pandalam. The AKS blocked traffic at Pandalam demanding the arrest of the all accused in the case.

The CPM local committee office was set fire at Thavanoor in Malappuram. A couple of party offices of the BJP and the CPM were damaged in stone pelting. Hartal supporters vandalised an ambulance in Palakkad. Police prevented protestors attempt to close the Passport Seva Kendra in Kozhikode.

The hartal in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa. As per initial reports, auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers were plying at the railway station in the state capital and various other places. But in Kozhikode, protesters blocked vehicles and burnt tyres in the morning. The hartal, which began at 6 am, has been called by Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an umbrella organisation of various pro-Hindutva groups, spearheading protests against the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict, and Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP).

The BJP is supporting the shutdown while the Congress-led UDF is observing a “black day” on Thursday. Two women, Kanakadurga (44) and Bindu (42), created history be stepping into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the Supreme Court’s historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its “eternally celibate” deity.

Ever since Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed the news of two young women entering Sabarimala temple, the state has been experiencing unrest and the government suspect deliberate acts and panning of riot by the Hindu extremists

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