Kerala Sabarimala hartal Highlights: 745 arrested, 628 taken into preventive custody

Kerala Sabarimala hartal Highlights: 745 arrested, 628 taken into preventive custody

Kerala Sabarimala Hartal Today: The Bhartiya Janata Party extended its support to the hartal, while the state Congress also joined the protests and announced that it would observe Thursday as a "black day".

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In the wake of the hartal call, BJP protests in Kochi. (Express photo by Harikrishnan K R)

Kerala Sabarimala Hartal Today Highlights: Kerala witnessed protests and strikes called by Hindu outfits on Thursday, a day after two women of menstruating age entered the Sabarimala temple, infuriating saffron outfits, with
protesters blocking roads by placing burning tyres and granite blocks, and clashes leaving three BJP workers injured in a knife attack.

DGP Loknath Behera said the Kerala Police will look into whether the attacks on mediapersons across the state was as part of a conspiracy. In a release, the DGP said district police heads have been instructed to create special teams to investigate these cases.

A day after two women – Bindu and Kanakadurga – entered Sabarimala, several pro-Hindutva outfits under the umbrella Sabarimala Action Council have called for a statewide shutdown on Thursday. The outfit backed by RSS opposes the Supreme Court verdict that lifted the ban on women of all ages in the temple. The Bhartiya Janata Party extended its support to the hartal, while the state Congress also joined the protests and announced that it would observe Thursday as a “black day”. As much as the move was celebrated by women activists, it also invited protests across the state, resulting in the death of a BJP worker yesterday. The temple was also shortly closed for “purification” rituals. By Wednesday afternoon, shops were forced to shut and traffic was blocked in other parts of the state. Several buses were damaged and mediapersons were also attacked.

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Kerala Sabarimala Hartal Today Highlights: Hindu outfits called for a hartal in Kerala today. Read in Malayalam

Kerala hartal: 745 arrested, 628 taken into preventive custody

The Kerala police Thursday arrested 745 people, involved in hartal violence and registered 559 cases. 628 people were taken into preventive custody.

Law & order has collapsed in Kerala: UDF

The Congress-led UDF alleged that the law and order had collapsed in Kerala following the violence during a shutdown called by saffron outfits on Thursday to protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple.

Terming it a "state-sponsored action", the party said the "immature" and "arrogant" approach displayed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in handling the issue was the reason for the tension, "The law-and-order situation in the state would not have collapsed had the chief minister shown maturity in handling the Sabarimala issue," United Democratic Front (UDF) convenor Benny Behanan said at a press conference here.

'Broken Window': Kerala police begins special drive to probe violence

Kerala Police begins special drive called 'broken window' to probe the recent incidents of violence over the last two days. Till 12 noon, 266 people have been arrested and 334 others have been taken into preventive custody. Special units will be formed in all districts to arrest those responsible for the violence. Special branch of the police will conduct secret probe and submit lists of offenders to respective district heads. Mobile phones of suspected offenders and attackers will be confiscated for digital prints. There will also be searches at their homes to look for weapons.

A database of these criminals will be stored in respective district offices for future reference. Digital teams have been formed to create photo albums of such criminals. Cases will be registered against all those who indulge in hate campaigns and communal campaigns on social media.

Women's entry into Sabarimala: Congress youth wing workers protest outside IG office

Youth Congress members protested outside the IG office over the entry of two women into the Sabarimala Temple. They were detained by police in Kochi. 

Protests against women's entry to Sabarimala: 60 held in Tamil Nadu

Sixty workers of a Tamil Nadu-based fringe Hindu outfit were arrested for trying to stage a 'rail-roko' on Thursday in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age group into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, PTI reported.  The Hindu Makkal Katchi activists were prevented from staging the protest at a railway station in Coimbatore, the police said.

In view of the one-day hartal in Kerala over the issue, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation suspended services to the state. About 25 bus services were cancelled, police said.

Thrissur: BJP workers injured in clash

In Vadanappally in Thrissur, three workers of the BJP were injured in a scuffle with those of the SDPI, political arm of the Popular Front. The injured have been admitted to Ashwini Hospital in Thrissur. A BJP worker was also stabbed in Chevayoor in Kozhikode district. His condition is unclear.

Media boycotts BJP press conferences

After attacks on journalists and media-persons at several places in Kerala during the hartal, journalists and press associations boycotted conferences called by the BJP leaders. In Thiruvananthapuram, state president PS Sreedharan Pillai's press conference was boycotted by reporters as was the same by general secretary K Surendran in Kasaragod. Hindu Aikya Vedi leader KP Sasikala was not allowed to hold a press conference in Kottayam.

BJP protest in Kochi

BJP activists stage protest march against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa in Kochi. (Source: PTI)

CPI district office in Palakkad attacked

The CPI district office in Palakkad was attacked by protesters today during the hartal, Manorama news reported. A few cars and bikes were damaged as well. There were clashes between CPM-BJP workers in the town. Police had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.

No compromises on security of chief minister: Kerala DGP Lokanath Behra

Kerala DGP Lokanath Behra made it clear that there would be no compromises on the security of the chief minister, ministers of the cabinet and all those who are accorded VIP status. He said the police would ensure the chief minister's security protocol was not violated at any cost.

The statement comes after a few BJP Mahila Morcha members managed to break into the chief minister's office on Wednesday while he was present as part of the protests centering around Sabarimala. Earlier today, two activists of the Youth Congress were injured when their motorcycle collided with one of the vehicles in the chief minister's convoy when he was travelling. Police have said cases would be registered against the Mahila Morcha members and the activists of the Youth Congress.

Sabarimala head priest should've quit if he was not ready to accept SC verdict: Kerala CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the Sabarimala head priest on Thursday for conducting purification rituals after two women entered the temple, saying he should have quit if he was not ready to accept the Supreme Court verdict. 

"A strange thing happened at the Ayyappa temple yesterday. The 'tantri' (priest) closed the shrine and performed the purification rituals. This was a violation of the SC verdict," Vijayan said. 

"The 'tantri' should have quit if he had any objection to the apex court order as he was also a party to the case," he said.

DGP to probe if attack on mediapersons part of conspiracy

DGP Loknath Behera on Thursday said the Kerala Police will look into whether the attacks on mediapersons across the state was as part of a conspiracy. In a release, the DGP said district police heads have been instructed to create special teams to investigate these cases. The IB has also been alerted to gather intelligence on the same, he said, warning that strict action will be taken against the perpetrators of these attacks.

A cameraperson for Asianet was attacked allegedly by BJP workers during the bandh today. 

Woman dies, relatives allege delay in receiving ambulance due to hartal

A 64-year-old woman, Pathumma from Wayanad who came for treatment at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) here, collapsed and died at the Thiruvananthapuram railway station in the morning, following which her relatives alleged that a delay in getting ambulance service resulted in her death, PTI reported.

PEB Menon raises need for Ordinance to protect Sabarimala believers

Shashi Tharoor extends support to UDF protesting against CPM, BJP's violence

Kerala Congress along with United Democratic Front protested in Parliament today against the CPM government and BJP, which caused vandalism and violence. Shashi Tharoor took to twitter extending support to UDF and said the state party stands with the believers, men and women, however wants the issue to be resolved constitutionally by the Supreme Court on January 22.

Watch: Protesters march at Thoppumpady, Kochi

Glimpse of traders' boycott of hartal

Shops remain open as the state witnesses heavy protests. 

(Express photo by Harikrishnan K R)

Mediapersons attacked by BJP workers in Trivandrum

Watch: Deserted Kochi bypass

Ernakulam District Collector visits shopping centre in Kochi

Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla IAS pays a visit at Broadway, a known shopping centre in Kochi. The distrcit administration had offered protection to traders who were willing to open shops today. As an act of solidarity, merchants and traders across the state had decided to defy Sabarimala Action Council's bandh and kept their shops opened. However, few shops that were open were attacked by protesters. 

(Source: PRD, Govt of Kerala)

Due to govt action, footfall in temple reduced to 10,000: Member of royal Pandalam family

Member of erstwhile royal Pandalam family PGS Varma said due to government action, the footfall in the temple has reduced from 1-2 lakh to 10,000-15,000, news agency ANI reported. "Kerala government is taking measures everyday to send soemone there to disturb its rituals. It's festival time when per day 1-2 lakh ppl used to come to temple but due to govt action, it has reduced to 10-15,000."

Congress MP K Suresh called the two women who entered the temple as Maoists and activists and said "We're observing 'black day' in Kerala today." State govt is challenging the sentiments of devotees of Sabarimala. With the sponsor of state govt, these two young women entered the temple. They are activists, they are maoists."

SC refuses urgent hearing to contempt plea against temple priest

The Supreme Court Thursday refused an urgent hearing to a plea seeking contempt proceedings against Sabarimala’s chief priest, a day after he closed the temple to perform “purification” rituals after two women entered the sanctum santorum. The matter will be heard by the top court on January 22 along with review pleas challenging its earlier order permitting entry of women in the temple between the age group 10-50.

Read more: Supreme Court refuses urgent hearing to contempt plea against Sabarimala priest

Watch: Women participate in Kerala hartal

Protesters pelt stones at shops in Kozhikode

Protesters in Kozhikode have pelted stones at shops including a popular sweet shop. Traders have expressed outrage to the agitation. Merchants and traders and called for a boycott of the shutdown that was declared yesterday by the Hindu outfits and had kept the shops open sinc morning. 

Everyone knows what damage Sangh Parivar has done: CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Thursday called the Kerala hartal as an "organised and coordinated violence" by the Sangh Parivar and said it is a tradition in Sabarimala to help other pilgrims, speaking on the two women who had entered the temple yesterday. 

"This is organised and coordinated violence by the Sangh Parivar. "Everyone knows what all damage they (Sangh parivar) have done in Sabarimala. This is the fifth hartal called by the BJP on the issue of Sabarimala," the chief minister said. 

Vijayan also slammed the temple head priest for shutting down the temple for the purpose of purification and said that he should quit if he was not ready to accpet the top court's verdict. "A strange thing happened at the Ayyappa temple yesterday. The 'tantri' (priest) closed the shrine and performed the purification rituals. This was violation of the SC verdict," Vijayan told reporters here. "The 'tantri' should have quit, if he had any objection to the apex court order as he was also a party to the case," he said.

Read more: Sangh Parivar’s hartal call over Sabarimala challenges SC verdict, says CM Vijayan

Addressing the media in Trivandrum, he further said, the two women who had tried to enter the temple earlier, returned yesterday and asked for police help to enter the temple and in this case other pilgrims helped the women climb up and the police had to no other choice but to implement Supreme Court's order.

"Since the police have to implement the Supreme Court's order, it had no other choice. It is a tradition in Sabarimala to help pilgrims and in this case other pilgrims themselves help the women climb up. The women themselves have confirmed that they were resisted by other pilgrims," said the chief minister. 

Firing the BJP and RSS, the chief minister said, "Violence unleashed by them will be dealt strongly. Conducting hartal in name of women's entry into Sabarimala temple is like calling hartal against SC order."

Vijayan spelled out the damage caused by the protesters where seven police vehicles and 79 KSRTC buses have been destroyed, while 39 personnel have come under attack. Further he said that most people under attack were women and women journalists were also attacked. 

In pics: Protests in full swing in Kerala

Women in large numbers protest in Kerala. 

Police has beefed up security at Thrissur, Kerala. 

(Express photos by Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

BJP protests in Kochi against women entering Sabarimala

In pictures: Kochi bypass remains deserted in wake of hartal

Barring a few private vehicles, the Kochi bypass near Palarivattom remains deserted in the wake of the hartal. 

(Express photos)

Guests travelling from Kochi, Thiruvanathapuram and Kozhikode may face issues: Jet Airways

Women weren't devotees, they were Maoists: V Muraleedharan on two women entering temple

Former Kerala BJP minister V Muraleedharan called the two women who entered the temple on Wednesday as "Maoists" and termed the entire act as a "planned conspiracy", news agency ANI reported. 

"They weren't devotees. They were Maoists. CPM with selected policemen prepared an action plan&then saw to it that the women go inside the temple. This is a planned conspiracy by Maoists in league with Kerala govt & CPM," said Muraleedharan.

Ambulances used to help stranded passengers as bus services affected in Thiruvananthapuram

We will carry agitation peacefully, abide by law: Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai

Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai vouched to carry the agitation in a peaceful manner and abide by the law of the land. Pillai, a staunch opposer of the SC verdict on allowing women to enter the temple, had on Wednesday called Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan a ‘modern-day Aurangzeb who was out to destroy Hindu temples’. “The ruling administration in Kerala consists of cheats. The way the women were taken to the temple smacked of an planned, organised conspiracy. The stand of the BJP has been vindicated. The ruling CPM was out to destroy the traditions of Sabarimala. Ayyappa devotees and the larger public will react strongly to this,” Pillai told reporters Wednesday. 

Pillai had also particiapted in ‘Ayyappa Jyothi’ programme held in December, where thousand stood roadside from northernmost Kasaragod district to Thiruvananthapuram in the south lighting lamps from 6 pm till 6:30 pm, expressing solidarity with temple traditions and customs that bar women of menstruating age from offering prayers.

Two CPM workers held for death of BJP worker protesting yesterday

Two CPM workers from Pandalam, allegedly involved in the death of BJP worker Chandran Unnithan, have been taken into police custody today. Unnithan was participating in a march organised by the Sangh Parivar-backed Sabarimala Action Council and was injured in violence at Pandalam. Later he succumbed to injuries.

Houses of seven CPM workers have come under attack in Pandalam and violence across Trivandrum, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur has been reported. Kozhikode has witnessed huge violence and around 50 BJP wrokers are reportedly in custody. And eight BJP leaders from Wayanad district have been taken under preventive arrest. 

Deserted streets of Attingal Junction in wake of statewide bandh

In the advent of the statewide bandh called by the Sabarimala Action Council, most streets in Kerala have not seen traffic today. Protesters have blocked the traffic at several junctions and two have been arrested for the same in Aluva. 

Deserted Attingal Junction. (Express photo by Kiran Gangadharan)

ICYMI: Udit Raj welcomes women entering Sabarimala temple

Dalit Lok Sabha MP Udit Raj welcomed the the move of women entering the temple on Wednesday and said he wanted women to enter the shrine as “a majority of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Ambedkarites have backed the Supreme Court verdict lifting the ban on menstruating women’s entry.”

“Why should women be banned to enter the Sabarimala temple? Both genders are equal before God, God does not reside in one particular place. He is omnipresent and women are everywhere. Then is it not impossible for God to stay away from them?” asked Udit Raj. 

Read more: BJP MP wants women’s entry in Sabarimala, says majority of SC/STs support it

Merchants keep shops open, varsities postpone exams scheduled for today

The hartal began at 6 am today and protesters have since blocked vehicles in Kozhikode, burnt tyres and pelted stones at buses. Merchants' organisations have said they would not cooperate with the hartal and keep shops and business establishments open, according to PTI. Several universities, including Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi, Calicut and Kannur have postponed their examinations scheduled for Thursday.

Glimpse of Kerala in wake of bandh

A policeman helping a tourist at Ernakulam, Kerala boat jetty.

(Express photo by Kiran Gangadharan)

Sabarimala pilgrims entering a KSRTC special service bus to Pamba. (Express photo from Ernakulam South)

KSRTC suspends services today, says over 60 buses attacked

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has suspended services across Kerala due to heavy protests and stones pelting at buses. Authorities said that over 60 buses have been attacked so far. In Koyilandi, protesters have vandalised the vehicle of a Circle Inspector. 

Security deployed in Pathanamthitta in wake of hartal

Widespread violence in state, five arrested for violence, two for blocking traffic

In the wake of the hartal which started today early mroning, widespread violence has been witnessed across the state and five people have been arrested in Kannur for violence and two have been held for blocking traffic in Aluva. 

Whereas in Palakkad, CPM controlled EMS Co-Operative Library library was under attack and protesters pelted stones at a KSRTC bus in Perambra.

Inside Sabarimala: Kanakadurga and Bindu, since Supreme Court lifted age restriction

A clip shows the two women entering the shrine. (Express photo)

Kerala Sabarimala Hartal Today Live Updates: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday had confirmed that the two women had entered Sabarimala. “It is true that women (of menstruating age) entered the temple. The government had earlier stated that it would give protection to women coming to visit the temple. The police are bound to give protection. This time, they did not face any problem in trekking to the temple,” he said, referring to protests the duo had faced in their earlier attempt on December 24.

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While the head priest of the temple had closed the temple for around an hour for "purification" purposes. Calling the development a treachery towards devotees, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said, “This was meant to destroy the temple. The government will have to answer to the faithfuls.”