Different outfits have called for a hartal in Kerala on Thursday after two women of “menstrual age” entered the Sabarimala temple and offered prayers on Wednesday. Bindu and Kanakadurga made history as the first women to enter the shrine since the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages entry into the temple.
Hartal tomorrow, UDF to observe ‘black day’
The Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella group of right-wing Hindu groups, has called a hartal in Kerala on Thursday. The BJP has extended support to the hartal and also said it would observe a two-day protest. The opposition front, UDF, has said it would observe a ‘black day’ on Thursday.
Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad has also called for a hartal.
This is the the seventh shutdown called by right-wing groups in just three months over the Sabarimala issue, according to PTI.
Trade bodies reject hartal
Traders’ organisations, such as the All-Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti, have said they will not cooperate with the shutdown and sought police protection to open their establishments.
Exams to be held on Thursday by the Kerala University and the Calicut University have been postponed. The universities will announce fresh dates later, Malayala Manorama reported.
Exams to be held by the Technical University, the Health University and the Agricultural and Veterinary University have also been postponed.
NSS to continue legal battle
The Nair Service Society has condemned the women’s entry into Sabarimala and said it would continue its legal battle to protect the faith of Ayyappa devotees.
NSS, which has filed a review plea in the Supreme Court challenging its verdict, said it would approach the Centre if the apex court rejects its plea.
Clashes and protests across Kerala
The state is likely to see widespread protests. On Wednesday, BJP and CPI(M) workers clashed outside the Secretariat in the capital and pelted stones at each other. Police fired teargas and used water cannons to disperse the protesters outside the Secretariat, television news channels showed.
BJP workers also took out a protest march in the state capital. In Kasaragod, they blocked traffic on the national highway.
BJP workers waved black flags at Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran in Guruvayur and at Health minister KK Shylaja in Kannur.
Treachery, says opposition
“This is treachery ... The government will have to pay the price for the violation of the custom,” K Sudhakaran, vice-president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, said in a statement.
The Kerala state president of the BJP described the visit to the temple by the two women as “a conspiracy by the atheist rulers to destroy the Hindu temples”. PS Sreedharan Pillai, told TV channels the BJP would “support the struggles against the destruction of faith by the Communists”.
“Let all the devotees come forward and protest this,” he said.
(With agency inputs)